By Chinelo Obogo
The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has said it would release approximately 2,500 documents relating to President Bola Tinubu’s forfeiture case.
According to a court filing, the documents would be released in tranches starting from the end of October in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Aaron Greenspan, who runs PlainSite, a website that pushes anti-corruption and transparency in public service.
Greenspan filed the request in collaboration with investigation journalist David Hundeyin.
The documents are expected to provide more information about Tinubu’s time in the United States, including when he entered the country, under what name he entered, and his activities while there. The documents are also expected to shed light on Tinubu’s alleged involvement in drug trafficking in the 1990s.
The documents are scheduled to be released in batches of 500 pages per month, beginning in October.
In a status report docketed on September 11 at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C. the investigative body said: “FBI has identified a total of approximately 2500 pages potentially responsive to FOIA requests 1553430-00 and 1587544-000,
“FBI plans a processing schedule of 500 pages per month, with an initial release anticipated by the end of October 2023.”
The presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar and the Labour Party (LP) Peter Obi at the February 25, 2023 had in separate petitions filed at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) in Abuja, challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) declaration of Tinubu as the president.
They prayed the court to hold that at the time of the presidential election, Tinubu was not qualified to contest on the grounds of forfeiture of proceeds from drug trafficking and money laundering in the US, declaration of allegiance to another country other than Nigeria, presenting a forged university certificate, perjury and inability to win the highest votes cast in the election. However, on September 6, the PEPT dismissed both suits.