Court dismisses suit challenging PDP campaign funding

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An Abuja high court has dismissed a suit seeking to challenge the campaign funding of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) in the 2015 presidential election.

Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of the court threw out the suit filed by one Chief Akinmoju Jero.

Jero, who is the plaintiff in the matter, joined a businessman, Benedict ‎Peters, and Northern Belt Oil and Gas Company of Nigeria Ltd as defendants.

‎The plaintiff had told the court that Mr. Peters, who is the 1st defendant in the matter, paid a bribe of $115million to electoral officers to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

According to a sworn affidavit deposed to by the plaintiff, it was also alleged that the electoral officers who received the bribe have made confessional statements and have also had their entire bank accounts blocked.

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He also accused Mr Peters of donating the sum of $60million to the PDP campaigns for the 2015 presidential election which is far above the recommended amount of N1million by the Electoral Act.

He said the defendant made the donation having received preferential treatment‎ in the award of contracts from the former minister of petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke.

‎In his response to the allegation, Peters denied giving bribes to electoral officials to influence the outcome of the elections.

According to an affidavit deposed to by one Andrew Onyearu, ‎the 1st defendant, being a very wealthy man, donated money to all political parties before the election and also to their candidates.

According to the affidavit, Peters has been the subject of unjustified media attacks premised on unfounded rumour and prosecuted by a vicious campaign of calumny based on a false belief by some uninformed people.

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In his judgement, Justice Adeniyi dismissed the case of the plaintiff for lacking in merit.

“The online publication relied upon by the plaintiff is not admissible in law. The evidence is clearly unrelated to the allegation of bribery adduced in this case.

“I have not seen any concrete or factual basis by the plaintiff to support the allegation‎ made against the defendant in this case. The plaintiff has failed to show to the court that the money was donated to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections.

“The donation made to any political party does not offend any provision of the Electoral Act. The plaintiff has failed to show that the defendants spent $115million to influence the outcome of the election.

“The defendants did not violate any law by way of his donation to political parties which is allowed in law. The purported allegation of bribery against the defendants is unfounded. The plaintiff’s case lacks merit and it is hereby dismissed,” the judge ruled.