By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, yesterday, nullified the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT’s, conviction of former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, on allegation that he falsely declared his assets in 2007.
In a unanimous judgement, a three-man panel of Justices led by Justice Mohammed Aboki, voided Orubebe’s conviction on the premise that the CCT’s verdict occasioned a miscarriage of justice against him.
The tribunal, in convicting Orubebe, had held that
it was satisfied that Orubebe shielded his ownership of Plot 2057 Asokoro District, Abuja.
Meanwhile, dissatisfied with the verdict, Orubebe, through his lawyer, Mr. Selekowei Larry, SAN, raised three grounds he said the appellate court should consider and nullify his conviction.
While upholding his appeal, yesterday, the appellate court held that the tribunal went beyond the case that was brought before it by the prosecution.
The court held that Orubebe’s trial was not based on his non- declaration of title deed of the said property, but his alleged false declaration of his assets.
It stressed that as such, the unregistered instrument of transfer of the said property was admissible evidence in proof of the payment of purchase price, which showed that the property was already acquired by Divention Properties Ltd.
“On the whole, it is our view that this appeal succeeded on its merit and is therefore allowed. The appellant is accordingly discharged and acquitted,” the court held.