Saturday, June 22, 2019

Kashamu smuggled 6.6kg of heroin into USA

The National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency( NDLEA ) has for the first time given graphic details of why the United States is desperate to seek the extradition of Senator Buruji Kashamu from Nigeria.

In court papers filed by the NDLEA to oppose Buruji’s legal bid to stop the extradition, the NDLEA said Buruji is wanted in the USA because of the 6.6kg of heroin he allegedly imported into the country in 1994.

The Anti-Drug Law agency claimed that the Senator who represented Ogun East Senatorial District in the 8th Assembly, imported the hard drug into the USA as the head of a large drug smuggling syndicate operating in Africa, Asia, Europe and America at the period.

In the 54-paragraph counter affidavit filed at the court, to debunk the innocence of the Senator, the NDLEA averred that Kashamu was indicted for hard drug offences in the USA.

“But he escaped while his alleged co-offenders were arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment in America.

“Following Kashamu’s escape, the US government in 2015 dispatched to Nigerian government a request for his extradition,”the NDLEA said.

NDLEA insisted that there was a valid and subsisting indictment against him in the United States District of Illinois, Eastern Division supported also with valid order for the arrest of the senator.

The affidavit read in part “The applicant Mr Buruji Kashamu, is alleged to have violated Narcotic Laws of the USA by conspiring to import heroin into the country.

“Heroin is a schedule 1 narcotic controlled substance under the laws of the USA.

“There is valid and subsisting indictment against the applicant, Buruji Kashamu in the United States’ District of Illinois, Eastern Division.

“On March 16, 1994, the applicant was charged in the USA/Buruji Kashamu, among others No. 94 CR 172 following the seizure of 6.6 Kilogrammes of heroin alleged to emanate from him.

“The applicant Buruji Kashamu was further charged with a second superseding indictment filed on May 21, 1998, for conspiracy to import heroin into USA, following repeated seizures of heroin similarly alleged to be emanating from him.

“A copy of the second superseding indictment and Arrest warrant for the fugitive issued by the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois is contained in Exhibit NDLEA 1.

“That contrary to his depositions, the applicant has never been exonerated of any drug or related offence by any court of Nigeria, the United States of America (USA) of the United Kingdom (UK).

“That the paragraphs of the applicant’s affidavit that talk of exoneration of crime/charges of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs are false.

“That contrary to his depositions, the decision of the British Courts did not exonerate the applicant of any of the charges for drugs and related offences pending in the USA.

“That the two judgments of the British Courts were decided on technicalities based on the laws of the UK.

“They did not go into the merits of the extradition charges relating to conspiracy and illicit traffic in narcotic drugs in the USA.

“That the judgment of the High Court of Justice (Queen’s Bench Division) in suit CO/2141/2000 delivered on Oct. 6, 2000, was decided on an application for the exercise of the court’s prerogative writ.

“This to quash the committal order of the Metropolitan Magistrate on the grounds of suppression of vital facts in the Examination Request of the United States of America (USA).

“That the decision of the Bow Street Magistrate Court that carried out a further inquisition into the Extradition Request of the USA merely discharged the applicant on the impugned credibility of the identification witnesses.

“That contrary to his depositions, the two magistrates of both the Metropolitan and Bow Street found as of fact that extraditable offences have been committed to justify the extradition of the applicant.

“That the claims of the applicant are unsubstantiated and should be dismissed with substantial cost, ” the NDLEA said.

However, NDLEA urged the court to dismiss the fresh suit on the ground that it constituted gross abuse of court process with falsification of facts in the judgments by London and American Courts.

Abang, sitting at the Lagos division of the Federal High Court, had in 2015, in two separate judgments, barred the Federal Government from extraditing Kashamu.

The two judgments were however on May 4, quashed and set aside by the Court of Appeal on the ground that they were based on hearsay evidence and suppression of facts by Kashamu.

The Senator has since approached the Supreme Court to challenge the decision of the Court of Appeal which cleared the coast for the Federal Government to extradite him to the U. S.

On 27 July, Justice Abang will rule again in two fresh suits filed by Buruji to stop his planned extradition to the US, by the Federal Government.

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