By Emmanuel Obisue
Fresh trouble may be brewing for Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as a United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has released fresh documents of his encounter with American authorities over allegations of narcotics trafficking and money laundering.
This comes amidst uncertainty among Nigerians over the source of his abundant wealth.
Nigerians, especially opposition party players have long insisted that the presidential candidate come clean on his involvement in the case, which saw him forfeit up to $460,000 to American authorities way back in 1993.
The former Lagos State Governor has come under intense public ridicule and political onslaught for his role in a drug trafficking case in Chicago in the 90s.
While Tinubu has not publicly commented on the matter, he has preferred to discuss other parts of his background in corporate accounting, consultancy and pro-democracy activism.
His supporters have also made efforts to downplay the matter entirely as a trivial distraction to Nigeria’s democratic experience because it happened decades ago in a distant land.
Meanwhile, the 56-page document released by the district court’s headquarters in Chicago did not include crucial new details, but it further confirmed snippets of the matter that had been shared spontaneously by the media space for years.
As seen on the latest certified copies of the court case dated August 10, Tinubu and two others named K.O. Tinubu and Alhaji Mogati were involved in banking proceeds of illicit drugs and money laundering with Heritage Bank and Citibank.
The American government had in July 1993 sought forfeiture of proceeds of narcotics that Tinubu was accused of laundering, after which the matter was resolved in a compromise between him and the US authorities.
Tinubu was asked to keep the money in the Heritage Bank account while the $460,000 in the Citibank account was forfeited.
A federal judge subsequently dismissed the matter with prejudice on September 21, 1993, which effectively foreclosed the matter from being litigated again by all parties.
Tinubu has since began his campaign tour around Nigeria in preparation for next year’s polls.