Orubebe to Open Defence on Alleged False Declaration of Asset, May 31

 

A former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, is expected on May 31 to  open defence against his alleged failure to declare some of his property acquired while in government.

This is as prosecution counsel led by Muhammad Diri, the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, closed its case against the accused person.

Federal Government had alleged that Orubebe failed to declare his property located at plot 2060 Asokoro, Abuja, when he assumed duty as Minister of Niger Delta.

Orubebe pleaed not guilty to the charges leveled against him.

However, Federal Government on Tuesday, March, 8 amended the charges against Orubebe.

At the hearing,  Diri told the court that there was an amended charge against the former Minister.

The fresh charge, a one-count charge borders on fraudulent declaration of asset during his tenure as a Minister.

Diri said the initial four-count charge dated October 8, 2015 was amended and brought before the court on Tuesday, March 8.

He said there was an oral affidavit in support of the application on the one-count amended charge.

But the defence counsel, Selekeowe Larry, told the court that since the last adjourned date, his team understood the prosecution intended to amend the charges.

Larry however said he was yet to see the amended charge which was already before the court.

Nevertheless, the defence counsel said it was expected that the new charge supersedes the previous one.

After hearing the submissions, the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, struck out the previous charges.

The chairman also admitted the new and amended charge against Orubebe.

On the amended one-count charge, the Federal Government alleged that Orubebe in his asset declaration on assumption of duty as Minister of the Niger Delta failed to declare his property located at plot 2060 Asokoro, Abuja.

The prosecution claimed that Orubebe’s action is contrary to Section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and punishable under Section 23(2) of the same Act.

At the resumed Wednesday, the prosecution counsel told the court that the matter was slated for continuation of trial by calling on the Prosecution Witness II, to testify against the accused person.

He noted that ‘‘having reviewed the case, we felt there is no further cause to call any other witness to this matter, to this we humbly apply to close our case for the prosecution’’.

The defence counsel told the Tribunal that his team was taken by surprise with the development.

He said they did not envisage the development and prayed the court for an adjournment to enable his team prepare for its defence, subject to the convenience of the Tribunal.

Umar obliged the application of the defence counsel and adjourned till May 31 for the accused person to open his defence.

 

Author: News Editor

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