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Come and Prove your innocence-US Court tells alleged Drug Lord, Chief Buruji Kashamu

Come and Prove your innocence-US Court tells alleged Drug Lord, Chief Buruji Kashamu

PDP Chieftain and Lagos Businessman, Chief Buruji Kashamu has been asked by the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit sitting in Chicago, Illinois to fly to America to face the law, as it throws out his application to quash a request forhis extradition.

With this latest judgement, the coast may almost be clear for the politician who has been claiming innocence for years to be dragged to court to face charges where he was allegedly described as the ring leader and drug Lord.

Presiding Judge of the Court, Charles R. Norgle had asked Chief Kashamu to buy a flight ticket to the US “to come and stand trial” because according to the US Court ” There was a good deal of evidence against him. Kashamu’s co-defendants who had pleaded guilty had admitted their participation in the charged conspiracy and identified “Alaji” as the leader of the conspiracy. Two of them identified Kashamu as Alaji in a photographic line-up, and in the extradition proceeding, the government submitted their affidavits to that effect”

In throwing out the application by Kashamu and refusing to quash an indictment issued against him, the Court averred that his indictment had no expiry date and was not affected by the famed statute of limitations.

According to the Court “when a suspected criminal flees from imminent prosecution, becoming a fugitive before he is indicted, the statue of limitations on prosecuting him is suspended .Similarly, when a defendant flees the country to escape justice, the inference is that he didn’t want a speedy trial-he wanted no trial. And if he doesn’t want a speedy trial, he cannot complain that judiciary didn’t give him one.

“Should he ever come to the United States, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, he could be put on trial in the Federal District Court in Chicago. An original indictment remains pending until it is dismissed or until double jeopardy or due process would forbid prosecution under it” according to the Court.

In the opinion of the Court, the charges against Kashamu are very serious as one of the co-defendants was given a 10-year sentence. “If Kashamu was indeed the ringleader of the drug conspiracy, as he may have been, he might if convicted, be given an even heavier sentence-quite possibly a life sentence”

The Court also called to question the integrity of the Nigerian Government when it alleged that “Given Kashamu’s prominence in Nigerian business and government circles, the probability of extradition may be low”

It will be recalled that in his famous letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo had alluded to this case and actually wondered why the sitting President Should be openly associating with Kashamu who had this drug-related matter hanging on his neck.

Meanwhile, Kashamu has continued to insist on his innocence, he had told journalists years back that the man the US authorities are actually after happens to be his late brother, adding that it has been a case of mistaken identity.

On the recent, Judgement, Kashamu said that he has several complaints against it and that his lawyers are exploring the opportunities for appeal. In his words “I do not believe that justice has been done. And it is not over yet.

He urged his political opponents not to rejoice yet as there are clear indications that the judge erred by ignoring many facts on record including the findings of the British Court in arriving at his conclusion.

Revealing that he has no rights under the American Constitution because he had has never been to America, he insists that he will battle this injustice till the end.



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