|Disaster Waiting To Happen|
Mr. Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the APC, is alleged to have dealt with narcotics (drugs) in the past.
This has been the case since 1999 when he contested and won the Lagos state gubernatorial election. Tinubu has continuously denied his involvement in drugs.
However, a certified true copy of the court documents showing that Tinubu forfeited $460,000 to the US government appeared online recently. Initially, I thought it was part of politicking until I saw Mr. Festus Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), defending Tinubu on national television.
In his defence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Festus Keyamo (SAN) stated on live TV: “I repeat it for the umpteenth time, I don’t want to sound like a broken record here. Asiwaju was not a party to that case. It was an account in his name that was sued…”
In other words, Mr. Keyamo was insinuating that a bank account opened in Tinubu’s name is distinct from Mr. Tinubu's. This statement from Keyamo leads me to believe that the meaning of his own SAN is Senior Advocate of Nonsense.
Even when a limited liability company, which is a separate legal entity from its owners, commits a criminal offense, a director is also guilty of the crime. That is, "if it is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of the director, or as a result of their negligence."
Of course, a company doesn’t have limbs and legs. It is the directors who run the company that would commit the crime. As such, it will be almost impossible to exonerate a director from the crimes of the company.
In fact, watching a SAN insinuating that a bank account is distinct from its owner, and defending forfeiture as a tax liability must be humiliating to the Legal Practitioners' Privileges Committee that recommended his appointment as a SAN. This goes to show that some of these people who masquerade as SANs do not merit their status.
Well, if Keyamo doesn’t know the meaning of money laundering, and forfeiture, the English dictionary defines Money laundry as “the concealment of the origins of illegally obtained money”. While Forfeiture is “the loss or giving up of something as a penalty for wrongdoing”.
Money laundry law simplified the process of forfeiture. If you are suspected of money laundering, it is your responsibility to prove that the said funds were not the proceeds of a crime. If you can prove the source of the funds, you keep the money, otherwise, forfeiture sets in.
If you cannot prove the source of the questioned funds, a prima facie case of money laundry is sufficiently established. This simply means that the inability to prove the source of the funds is evidence that a crime has been committed until rebutted by the accused.
But, if The State (Prosecutor) decides to bring a criminal charge against the suspected money launderer, the prosecutor now must prove the matter beyond a reasonable doubt.
However, if the prosecutor believes that there is not enough evidence to secure a criminal conviction, he will drop the criminal charges, and keep the forfeited funds. From this explanation, it is clear what happened in the forfeiture hearing of Mr. Tinubu.
Although The State established a prima facie case of drug dealings involving Bola Tinubu and his associates, the evidence was NOT strong enough to secure a criminal conviction. Hence, Tinubu forfeited the $460,000 to the US government, and the prosecutor dropped criminal proceedings against Tinubu.
As Festus Keyamo (SAN) was busy fooling gullible Nigerians that the $460,000 forfeiture by Tinubu was a tax liability, astute minds knew that tax is a debt and not an offense. And debts are not settled through forfeiture (giving up something as a penalty for wrongdoing).
Tax evasion (failure to declare or under-declare tax liability) is an offense. Upon conviction, you are mandated to pay the evaded tax liability, plus fines, and you go to prison.
Now, the payment of the evaded tax is not a penalty for wrongdoing. The penalty for wrongdoing is the fines you pay, and the prison sentence. And the wrongdoing here is failure to declare or under-declare tax liability.
No matter Mr. Keyamo’s hogwash defense of Bola Tinubu, the US court documents clearly showed that the $460,000 found in Tinubu’s bank accounts was the proceeds of the distribution of white heroin and money laundry between 1988 and 1992.
Furthermore, a US Attorney, Michael Shepard stated in the court documents that Tinubu opened about 10 bank accounts in the name of Bola Tinubu and Compass and Finance Investment Ltd. These accounts were opened in December 1989 and January 1990. And funds over Tinubu’s earnings in Mobil Oil were deposited into these accounts. Tinubu worked at Mobile Oil at that time.
In addition, investigators stated in the court documents that they had cause to believe “that the funds for $460,000 in account in the name of Bola Tinubu represents proceeds of narcotics or were involved in financial transactions in violation of 18 U.S.C ss 1956 and 1957 and therefore these funds are forfeited to the United States”.
Shepard added that though, “a less prima facie” case was established against Tinubu, the case was beyond mere suspicion. This less prima facie case established against Tinubu was the reason the US authorities didn’t bring criminal charges against Tinubu. They didn’t have enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Nevertheless, it was the responsibility of Tinubu to prove the source of the $460,000 found in his bank accounts, which was far more than his income from Mobil Oil. This is what the money laundry law says.
Now we know that Bola Tinubu was unable to prove the source of the $460,000. And thus, a motion ex-parte application for an order for seizure of the said funds was made by the US attorney on August 18, 1993, which was subsequently granted.
In the end, Bola Tinubu got away with a criminal conviction for drug dealings and money laundry because a less prima facie case was established against him. But he forfeited the $460,000 to the US government.
As such, a dodgy, sick, tired, incoherent old man will be the president of Nigeria in 2023. I guess some people by now are shouting God forbid it, it can’t happen, etc. But the only way it won’t happen, and God will forbid it, is if the Hausa/Fulani people decide to pull the rug off Tinubu’s feet. I mean, if they decide not to vote for Bola Tinubu.
Finally, if you think that Nigerians are going through hell in the hands of President Buhari wait till you have President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Keyamo and co have told us that Tinubu will continue with Buhari’s legacy. That’s jumping from a frying pan into a fire.
~liberate your mind