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Sunday, 21 September 2014


Buruji Kashamu

Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Buruji Kashamu, has promised to fight till the end in his bid to clear his name of drug indictment in the US. It was reported on Thursday that the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Monday denied the chairman of PDP mobilisation and organisation committee an “order of mandamus” he filed on August 18, 2014 to stop his trial. Buruji said the indictment, which came 16 years ago, was “false” and that he had already been cleared by the British authorities over the same matter. In a statement personally signed by him and released on Thursday evening, Kashamu accused the judge, Posner, who delivered the lead judgment, ignored several facts in arriving at the decision to grant him the mandamus.
Below is the full text of Kashamu’s statement.

I wish to provide an update to Nigerians on my efforts to obtain justice within the U.S. judicial system in regard to the false indictment made against me in the U.S. Courts, which the British courts have cleared me from unequivocally. As many may recall I had to take the battle to the U.S. authorities in their own country because, despite the British judgment and the defeats they have suffered in their attempts to place a false accusation on me they have neither attempted to extradite me again nor withdrawn the charges.

I had in 2009 attacked the unjustifiable indictment retained made against me on the basis that the English Judiciary, which the U.S. authorities had themselves instigated against me, had exonerated me. In that application to dismiss the indictment I requested that the findings and Conclusions of District Judge Tim Workman of the Bow Street Magistrates Court in London, be given collateral estoppel status by the U.S. court and his findings and conclusions be made conclusive on the issue of whether or not I was a party to the alleged crime. District Judge Norgle before whom the indictment was pending refused the application after ruling that I was not a fugitive from justice in the U.S. I appealed against Norgle’s decision refusing to dismiss the indictment to the U.S 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The panel led by Judge Posner a well-respected judge in the U.S. judicial system agreed with the District Judge. In his judgment then, Judge Posner had made some wide-ranging generalized statements, which were not borne out by the records. However, as the Supreme Court of the U.S. rarely takes an appeal that complains merely about findings of fact, the Supreme Court did not hear my appeal from that judgment. In that judgment Judge Posner held that the decision of the English Courts were not equivalent to that of the U.S. courts and so could not be regarded as binding on the U.S. courts. However, as the lawyers noted, U.S. courts expect their judgments to be treated better by foreign courts.

This update is about my second attempt to dismiss this indictment. This second attempt was based on my contention that the indictment pending before Judge Norgle has now expired by effluxion of time by reason of the Speedy trial requirement of U.S. constitutional and criminal law and was consequently statute barred. Many cases in the U.S. in which prosecution had not started after 5 years of the charge have been dismissed for this reason. Judge Norgle had characteristically rejected the application. I therefore applied to the U.S. 7th circuit Court of Appeals for an order of mandamus directing the District Judge to dismiss the indictment. Judgment was delivered on the 15th of September 2014 by the Court of Appeals in respect of that application for mandamus. Judge Posner delivered the leading judgment of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals again.

I have several complaints against that judgment and my lawyers are exploring the opportunities available for appeal. However before my political adversaries begin the usual perversion of truth I wish to make the following comments on the judgment for the records. (A.) Again Mr. Posner has ignored the facts on record and the findings of the English Courts in coming to his conclusions that: 1. I have no rights under the American Constitution because I have never been in the United States and “it would be very odd that someone with so attenuated a connection to the United States would have rights under the US Constitution”. 2. “but no matter; even if the government is incorrect and Kashamu does have constitutional rights, he still loses, because they haven’t been violated”. (B.) In working his way to these conclusions, he had already made, Judge Posner wrongly finds that only two options are available to me: 1. The first is to “return” to the U.S. and “stand trial and at the trial renew his motion for dismissal on the basis of the speedy trial clause” 2. The second “is to obtain from us, as he is trying to do, a writ of mandamus ordering the District court to dismiss the indictment”. (C.) Judge Posner comes to these wrong conclusions in order to create a scenario of a stalemate between me and the U.S authorities whereby he posits that I will not come to the U.S. to fall into the clutches of the U.S. judiciary and that the U.S. authorities in turn have little hope of ever extraditing me to the U.S in view of my prominence in Nigeria and the findings of the British Courts, thus he then surmises: “as he won’t risk the first path to relief, which would require him to come to the United States and fall into the clutches of the federal judiciary, he must rely entirely on mandamus” He then proceeds to reject the application for mandamus for the reason that I have not come to the U.S. to “face the judicial music”. (D.) Judge Posner in building the stalemate scenario then expresses his disbelief in the U.S. Government’s statement, in response to my application, that it has now found the atmosphere in Nigeria more favourable for my extradition to the U.S. and responds to their vaunted optimism as follows: “But the government may be whistling in the dark in saying that its optimistic about being able to extradite him from Nigeria (no doubt it was optimistic about being able to extradite him from the United Kingdom). The proof of the pudding is in the eating: the government has not tried to extradite Kashamu from Nigeria and for all we know may be feigning “optimism” in order to undermine Kashamu’s claim that the threat of extradition is a sword of Damocles disrupting his life without our government’s having to undergo the expense and uncertainty of seeking extradition of a foreign big shot exonerated (though only partly) by the judiciary of our British ally. Given Kashamu’s prominence in Nigerian business and government circles, and the English Magistrate’s findings and conclusion, the probability of extradition may actually be low.” Judge Posner in conclusion, for the above reason, finds in favour of the U.S. government, that it has no duty to attempt any extradition of any suspect charged for an offence in the U.S. since all it need do is to inform that suspect that a charge has been made against him in the U.S. and that suspect thereupon becomes duty bound to take the next plane to the U.S. at his own expense to challenge the charge and prove his innocence. Mr. Posner feigns ignorance of the statistics that show a serious racial prejudice against blacks and foreigners (especially from developing countries) by the mainly white dominated federal judiciary of the United States. However, his own prejudice is quite patent in the casual manner has treated this important matter and attempts to “call a dog a bad name in order to hang it”. The use of the phrase “though only partly” to qualify his own concession that the British judiciary had “exonerated” me again shows that Judge Posner either lacks a thorough grasp of his own record or is being mischievous. The statement of the British court which he refers to as only part exoneration is as follows: “As a result of the evidence that the Defence has placed before me and the evidence which the government has tendered in rebuttal, I find the following facts: that the defendant has a brother who bears a striking resemblance to him; I am satisfied that the defendant’s brother was one of the co-conspirators in the drugs importation which involved Catherine and Ellen Wolters… “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 those circumstances, there is then no prima facie case against the defendant and I propose to discharge him.” If this clear judgment of “the judiciary of their British ally” is only part exoneration one wonders what more the U.S. judges want or what is really behind this persecution. (E.) Finally, Mr. Posner apparently intent on changing a fundamental principle of criminal and International Human rights law, then places upon a suspect who has never been in the U.S. before (merely upon being informed of allegations against him before a U.S. Court) the responsibility to buy a cheap ticket from, come to the U.S. to surrender himself into the arms of the U.S. judiciary (to prove his innocence of the charges against him?) and, as recommended by him, in my case, to face a possible life sentence before a judge whose mind is already made up even without evidence.

I do not believe that justice has been done. And it is not over yet. @Abeke Olabode

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