Following recent media reports that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 general elections, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was convicted of drug-related cases in the United States of America some years ago, a letter issued by the American Embassy in Nigeria debunking the reports has emerged.
The letter, dated February 4, 2003, with reference 011-234-1-261-0097 ext 244, and addressed to the then Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Tafa Balogun, passed through the Administrative Secretary of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lagos
Part of the letter read: “In relation to your letter dated February 3, 2003, reference number SR. 3000/IGPSEC/ABJ/VOL. 24/287, regarding Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a record check of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Crime Information Center (NCIC) was conducted.
“The results of the checks were negative for any criminal arrest records, wants, or warrants for Bola Ahmed Tinubu (DOB 29 March, 1952). For information of your department, NCIC is a centralized information center that maintains the records of every criminal arrest and conviction within the United States and its territories.
“If you have any questions regarding these matters, please contact me direct at 1-261-0195, ext. 319 or via facsimile at 1-262-0257.”
Tinubu also refuted the reports that he was indicted and convicted of drug trafficking in the United States 30 years ago.
Some news platforms had released certified judgment documents of a Chicago District Court indicting and convicting Tinubu of drug dealings and money laundering in 1993.
According to the document: “Tinubu was a drug baron, who entered a plea bargain leading to the forfeiture of his assets to the American authorities in 1993.”
Tinubu was alleged to have forefeited $460,000 in his bank account number 263226700 domiciled at First Heritage Bank to the US government on October 4, 1993, following the court indictment.
The judgment was signed by a US Attorney, and an Assistant Attorney, Michael Shepard, and Marsha McClellan respectively.
However, speaking through the spokesman of his campaign team, Bayo Onanuga, the APC presidential candidate has described the documents as a campaign of calumny.
In a Facebook post, Onanuga said the claims that Tinubu was a drug baron were erroneous.
He wrote: “The campaign media and publicity director, Bayo Onanuga, had perused the new document and dismissed it as the same old tale. It is as dead as a dodo.
“One of the unconscionable and wicked lies peddled by political opponents about Tinubu is to paint him erroneously as a drug baron.
“The accusation arose out of an investigation by an FBI agent, Kevin Moss, of Tinubu and Compass Investment and Finance accounts at First Heritage Bank and Citi-Bank in the US.
“The FBI never charged Tinubu with any drug offence; the case did not go on trial. Tinubu was never convicted. And he was never barred from entering the US.
“In 2003, when the PDP opponents wanted to use the shuttered allegation to disqualify Tinubu from running for a second term as governor in Lagos, the Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, made an enquiry with the American Consulate on Tinubu’s status.”
Onanuga also recalled that the US consulate gave Tinubu a clean bill in response to a request by the Legal Attache, Michael H Bonner.