The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Wednesday quashed the conviction of a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, for false asset declaration.
Orubebe was arraigned before the CCT on November 9th 2015 for false declaration of his assets when he assumed office as a Minister in the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
He was accused of failing to declare an Asokoro land traced to him.
The CCT had dismissed Orubebe’s claim that he sold the landed property to to the Managing Director of Divention Properties Limited, Akinwumi Ajibola, for N10 million in 2011 and deployed the proceed to pay his rent.
The CCT had tried him on October 4th 2016, found him guilty of the charge.
However delivering judgment in an appeal filed by Orubebe, the three-man panel of the appeal court, ruled that the tribunal headed by Danladi Umar, unjustly convicted Orubebe as the property in question had been sold before he assumed office and so he could not have declared it on or before assuming office.
The judge held that the issue before the tribunal was not declaration of title, but false declaration of assets and as such the unregistered instrument of transfer are admissible in proof of the payment of purchase price, which showed that Divention Properties Limited had acquired the property.