CCT: Supreme Court upholds ruling quashing Orubebe’s conviction

THE Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal filed by the Federal Government against the reversal of the conviction of former Niger Delta Minister Godsday Orubebe.

 The apex court acquitted Orubebe on an allegation of breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.

A five-person panel of the Supreme Court on Friday, February 16, ruled that the Federal Government’s appeal was ineligible.

According to the lead judgment written by Mohammed Lawal Garba and read by Emmanuel Agim on Friday, the appellant was deemed to have filed the appeal based on mixed law and facts but without first obtaining prior leave from the court.

The court dismissed the appeal after ruling that it was incompetent due to the failure to seek the necessary court permission.

The Federal Government, in case number SC/680/2017, appealed the June 14, 2017 ruling that overturned the conviction which was handed down to Orubebe on October 4, 2016, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for violating the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.

In a single-count indictment, the Federal Government charged him with neglecting to disclose a property located at Plot 2057, Asokoro District, Abuja, on any asset disclosure forms he filed with the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) during his tenure as a minister.

Orubebe refuted the accusation and said he sold the property before swearing in and consequently saw no need to disclose it.

In May 2017, Orubebe asked the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal to quash his conviction by the CCT following an allegation by the Federal Government that he falsely declared his assets in 2007.

Orubebe, in his notice of appeal, marked CA/A/633c/2016, prayed the appellate court to not only set aside the judgment the Danladi Umar-led tribunal delivered against him on October 4, 2016, but to discharge and acquit him of the charge.

In its ruling, the tribunal had expressed satisfaction that Orubebe had concealed his ownership of Plot 2057 in the Asokoro District of Abuja.

The Tribunal noted that his name remained on the title records six years after Orubebe claimed to have sold the land and filed the assets declaration form.

Disappointed with the decision, Orubebe approached the Appeal Court with three points through his lawyer, Selekowei Larry.






     

     

    He argued that the appellate court ought to overturn his conviction.

    In June 2017, the October 2016 CCT ruling that found Orubebe guilty of false wealth declaration was overturned by the Appeal Court’s Abuja division.

    A three-judge panel at the court, chaired by Abdu Aboki, declared that the records produced before the lower court adequately demonstrated ownership transfer.

    The court further decided that Orubebe was not legally required to declare an asset he had previously sold.

     

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