By Kenneth Okonkwo
Bola Ahmed Tinubu emerged the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress in a keenly contested presidential primary election held recently. He made it clear that to become the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been his life-long ambition. He publicly declared that it was his turn to be President. He so much felt that it was his entitlement to be President that he openly chided the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, for daring to contest against him in the presidential primary election.
He dispatched Ahmed to lick his wounds after trouncing him to the fourth position during the primary. It was only recently that he declared that he has forgiven Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for daring to contest with him. I do not know when contesting elections has become a sin or crime that requires forgiveness from a Bola Tinubu.
Unfortunately for Tinubu, the surfacing of his drug dealings in the US has put paid to his ambition to be President. In addition to the incontrovertible evidence as stated in the verified complaint for forfeiture and the affidavit in support of the complaint, and the terms of forfeiture and compromise made by Tinubu in the case, it has been put beyond doubt that Tinubu was not only a narcotic trafficker and money launderer, he was also a tax fraudster and a man that is incapable of telling the truth.
A lot of his spokespersons have tried to do damage control on this matter, but as hard as they try, they end up exposing Tinubu the more.
Preliminarily, the heading of the Court revealed that the case was between the United States of America as Plaintiff and the Funds in Account 263226700 held by First Heritage Bank in the name of Bola Tinubu; Funds in Accounts 39483134, 39483396, 4650279566, 00400220, 39936404, 39936383 held by Citibank, N. A. in the name of Bola Tinubu and Funds in Accounts 52050-89451952, 52050-89451952, 52050-89451953 held by Citibank, International in the name of Bola Tinubu as Defendants.
This again puts it beyond doubt that it was money gotten by Tinubu through criminal activities that are the subjects of litigation by American government because nobody can move against anybody’s money in the bank without satisfying a Court that they are proceeds of crime. A Court must issue an order before you can access the details of anybody’s account in the bank because the bank is under a fiduciary duty to its clients of non-disclosure without a court order.
This process of litigation is sui generis (of it’s own unique kind) which enables American government to seize the property of Defendants and compel their forfeiture by the Defendants through a civil process which can be proceeded against without their physical presence and at a lower cost to America and a higher gain to America.
Usually, when such fraudsters learn that they are under investigation for drug and other related crimes, they simply vanish back to their countries and avoid travelling to America and this makes criminal proceeding against them difficult. Embarking on this civil proceeding for forfeiture provides opportunity for the United States Government to achieve the same penalty on the defendant through civil process which they would have achieved through criminal process if it had the criminal in its hands.
This is why those criminals avoid travelling to America no matter how sick. Forfeiture is simply defined as the loss or giving up of something as a penalty for wrongdoing. In law, it means losing a right, privilege, or property without compensation as a consequence of violating the law.
Specifically, the case against Tinubu was a forfeiture action under the United States laws against funds located in the above-described accounts, which were seized pursuant to a court order because the defendant funds represent proceeds of narcotics trafficking and further represent property involved in money laundering in violation of United States laws. (Please see paragraphs 1 – 6 of the Verified Complaint For Forfeiture) as stated by the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Michael J. Shepard.
Bola Tinubu was given notice to appear and show cause why the forfeiture should not be decreed (See paragraphs 1 and 2 of the United States requests in the Verified Complaint For Forfeiture), but rather than appearing to show cause, Tinubu accepted legally to forfeit the funds, to the tune of $460,000.00, and even went further to state in writing that he will never sue the US Government and all the individuals involved in seizing his money in the banks, signifying unequivocally an admission to all the allegations against him.
For the avoidance of doubt, the US Government and Tinubu agreed to settle and to compromise this case upon terms presented to the Court ( See paragraph 3 of the Stipulation and Compromise Settlement of Claims to the Funds held by Heritage Bank and Citibank; See paragraph f of the Decree of Forfeiture as to Funds held by First Heritage Bank). Pursuant to the stipulation for compromise settlement, the Court ORDERED that the funds in the amount of $460,000 in account 263226700 held by First Heritage Bank in the name of Bola Tinubu represent proceeds of narcotics trafficking or were involved in financial transactions in violation of US Laws and therefore these funds are forfeited to the United States pursuant to US Laws; it is further ORDERED that First Heritage Bank shall issue a check in the amount of $460,000 payable to Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and that these funds shall be disposed of according to law. (See paragraph j of the Decree of Forfeiture as to Funds held by First Heritage Bank).
It is disheartening that some spokespersons of the All Progressives Congress, including some Lawyers, and even a Senior Advocate of Nigeria will openly lie to Nigerians about Tinubu and his drug case in the United States. A judgement of a Court in law represents the position of the law.
As can be seen above, the judgement of the Court of Illinois, USA is that Tinubu is a narcotic trafficker and a money launderer and that was the only basis for an order of forfeiture. Who is that Lawyer that will advise his client to forfeit a whooping sum of $460,000 (Almost about N460,000,000.00, as the naira is moving close to N1,000 to one $ in APC government) in a country that upholds the rule of law like America, if the client wasn’t liable or guilty as the case may be.
According to the investigation conducted by the United States FBI, IRS DEA etc, and more specifically stated by Special Agent Kevin Moss in paragraphs 11 – 14, 21 of the Affidavit in support of the Verified Complaint for Forfeiture, Tinubu was engaged as a narcotic white heroin dealer by a powerful Nigerian drug baron for various duties in the distribution organisation. The drug baron was the person that introduced Tinubu to First Heritage Bank in Illinois, USA, where he opened his account with $1,000 in December, 1989.
Five days after opening the account, $80,000 was deposited into the account through wire transfer from a bank in Houston, Texas by the drug baron. Millions of dollars were later to be transferred into the account in furtherance of the lubrication of the illicit drug trafficking and money laundering criminal activities of this distribution network (See paragraphs 22 – 24 of the Affidavit in support of the Verified Complaint for Forfeiture)
A lot of untruthful spokespersons have stated that Tinubu made his money through being a Treasurer in Mobil Oil Nigeria Ltd. The averments in the affidavit proved otherwise. Whilst it’s true that Tinubu was a Treasurer with Mobil, Tinubu stated himself that his salary in Mobil was $2,400 per month and that he had no other sources of income. (See paragraph 27 of the Affidavit in support of the Verified Complaint for Forfeiture). Where is the source of the millions of dollars in his account?
The source is proved to be from narcotic trafficking and money laundering. Another lie is that it was for the reason of tax fraud, specifically, non-payment of tax that his money was seized. Tax fraud wasn’t even mentioned as one of the crimes for investigation. Tax fraud was discovered as an additional offence committed by Tinubu when he invested money in interest yielding deposit accounts and failed to file tax returns since 1984.
One can see that the issue of failure to file tax returns in 1984 preceded even the opening of the account for drug trafficking in 1989 and this lie should be disregarded as infantile by Nigerians.
This case also revealed the spirit of dishonesty that resides in Bola Tinubu. In paragraphs 40 – 41 of the Affidavit in support of the Verified Complaint for Forfeiture, Tinubu admitted on January 13, 1992, that the drug barons were his associates both in Nigeria and the United States of America and that the money he used to open his account in First Heritage Bank was from the drug barons.
Then he didn’t know the reasons for the inquiry. When he realised the reasons for the injury, by January 30-31, 1992, Tinubu advised agents investigating the matter that he had no business association or financial relationship with the drug barons. The investigators categorically made it clear that he contradicted his earlier information of January 13, 1992. He also denied the ownership of some accounts in some banks in United States of America which was found to be false. (See paragraph 47 of the Affidavit in support of the Verified Complaint for Forfeiture).
The conclusion of the United States Government that Tinubu is a drug trafficker, money launderer, tax fraudster and a dishonest person have also been replicated at home through complete dishonesty as to his ancestral origin, primary school and secondary school certificates which are hidden in mystery. His age declarations which are often believed to be contradictory that has earned him the famous title of Charly Boy’s younger brother. His health status which has rendered him too frail and weak and unfit to run for the office of President.
In view of these revealed facts, it is now certain that any politician, President, both former and present, Governor, indeed any member of the Legislature, Executive or Judiciary or any citizen of Nigeria, who after going through these facts exposed about Tinubu by an independent investigator and still support Tinubu for President come 2023 is corrupt himself or herself but above all is mentally unbalanced to hold any political office in Nigeria.
Anytime you see any citizen with Tinubu campaigning, that person has become an accomplice to criminality of Tinubu and that person should be avoided with Tinubu by Nigerians. This country deserves better than drug traffickers, money launderers and dishonest people as President in 2023. The 2023 election is about character, competence and capacity and any candidate short of these traits is unqualified for the exalted post of the President.