Orubebe charged with false declaration of assets, corruption



A Nigerian former government minister who disrupted the declaration of presidential election results earlier this year was on Monday charged with bribery and false declaration of assets.

Godsday Orubebe, the Niger Delta minister under former president Goodluck Jonathan, is accused of failing to declare two properties he owned at the time he took office in June 2011.

He was also alleged to have received bribes amounting to 70 million naira ($350,000, 328,000 euros), the Code of Conduct Tribunal in the capital, Abuja, heard.

Orubebe pleaded not guilty and the case was adjourned until November 26.

The 56-year-old caused a stir during collation of ballots after the March 28 vote, which saw Jonathan and his ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dumped from office by Muhammadu Buhari.

Orubebe accused Nigeria’s then elections head Attahiru Jega of being partial and selective in his handling of petitions filed by the PDP against some of the results.

He shouted and attempted a sit-in in a 15-minute stand-off captured live on television in the venue where results were being announced. Orubebe later apologised for his outburst.

Buhari and his All Progressive Congress (APC) won the vote, securing the first ever win by an opposition party in Nigeria’s independent history.

The president has since embarked on a drive against endemic corruption that has seen a number of government ministers and senior politicians questioned about or charged with graft offences.

They include the third most-senior political figure in the country, Senate leader Bukola Saraki.

The Niger Delta is home to Nigeria’s oil industry. The minister is in charge of development projects in the region, where most people live in poverty despite the multi-billion dollar industry.

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