Court Dismisses Kashamu's Application As Judge Declares It's Too Late To Register Judgments
SAN FRANCISCO, February 12, (THEWILL) - The move by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain and businessman, Buruji Kashamu, to clear himself of alleged criminal offences committed in the United States suffered a setback on Wednesday.
This came as a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja dismissed an application he filed for leave to register two judgments entered in his favour by two United Kingdom courts.
Buruji had claimed that the decisions of the two United Kingdom courts cleared him of alleged criminal offences for which the United States Government was reportedly seeking his extradition.
But ruling on the application on Wednesday, Presiding judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, held that the court could not extend the period within which the judgments could be registered.
"I doubt that the period of six years which the law provided for registration could be extended.
"I find myself unable to exercise my discretion to grant the prayer.
"This is a process that constitutes an abuse of the court process.
"It fails and is hereby dismissed," Justice Kolawole said.
The decisions , according to Kashamu, arose in the suits - Governor of HMP Prison, Brixton Vs Government of The United States of America Exparte Buruji Kashamu & Government of the United States of America Vs Buruji Kashamu and delivered on October 6 and 10, 2000 respectively.
Kashamu, in a motion exparte filed by his counsel, Dr.
Alex Izinyon (SAN), pursuant to Order 6 Rule 14(1) of the Federal High Court (Civil Rules, 2009 Section 10(a) of the Foreign Judgement s (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act Cap.
35 LFN 2004, sought to register the two judgments from the United Kingdom Courts.
The Attorney General of England Wales was the sole respondent to Kashamu's application.
In the judgment of October 6, 2000, District Judge Tim Workman, quashed the committal order having found the proceedings against Kashamu unfair because the U.
S Government concealed vital identification evidence.
Kashamu had claimed that the judgment of October 10, 2000, which was a full trial declared that he had no question to answer.
"I am however satisfied that the overwhelming evidence here is such that the identification evidence, already tenuous has now been so undermined as to make it incredible and valueless.
In these circumstances, there is no prima facie case against the defendant and I propose to discharge", the District Judge Workman was quoted to have said.
And in the motion exparte, Izinyon prayed Justice Kolawole to grant the applicant "the extension of time within which the applicant shall register the judgements in the suits (a) Governor of HMP Prison, Brixton Vs Government of The United States of America Exparte Buruji Kashamu & (b) Government of the United States of America Vs Buruji Kashamu and delivered on the 6th and 10th October, 2000 respectively.
' He also prayed for "an order of this honourable court for leave to issue and serve the processes filed in this suit, outside the jurisdiction of this honourable court on the Respondent to wit: on the Respondent's office at 20 Victoria street, London, England, SW1H ONF.
' Izinyon formulated 10 grounds in support of the application, which included the claim that Kashamu was unaware that he needed to register the aforesaid judgments delivered in his favour by the said courts in the United Kingdom in Nigeria and out of negligence did not obtain the services of a legal practitioner to specifically advise him on this issue until he was informed by his counsel, Dr.
Izinyon, SAN on 10th December, 2013.
He also stated that "the period within which the applicant should register the said judgment by virtue of the Foreign Judgements Act Cap F35 has expired.
" He therefore prayed that the applicant should be granted leave of the court "to register the said judgements out of time.