The PEPC has upheld argument by President Muhammadu Buhari that it lacked the jurisdiction to entertain allegation of corrupt practices and voters’ inducement raised against Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the petition by Atiku Abubakar and the PDP.
In its 5th ruling of the day, the court equally upheld the argument by Buhari’s legal team, led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN) that it was wrong for the petitioners to raise such grievous allegation against Osinbajo without joining him as a party in the petition to enable him to defend himself against the allegation.
The petitioners had, in the petition, alleged that Osinbajo engaged in voters inducement by spending funds not appropriated for by the National Assembly or approved, in the pretext of Trader Moni and other social intervention programmes of the government.
In its ruling, the court said the non-joinder of persons against whom grievous criminal allegations were made in the petition, including Osinbajo, is a denial of their rights to fair hearing.
The court rejected the petitioners’ claim that the persons against whom the allegations were made are agents of the respondents, particularly 2nd and 3rd respondents (Buhari and APC) and held that there is no vicarious liability in criminal law, noting that anyone, who violates the law should carry his/her cross.
The court proceeded to strike out, from the petition, paragraphs containing the said offending criminal allegations, particularly paragraphs 368, 369, 370, 371, 372 containing the petitioners’ allegations of corrupt practices against Osinbajo, in which they accused him of allegedly inducing voters with government funds, not appropriated or approved.
PEPC’s Presiding Justice, Justice Mohammed Garba said he agreed with the argument by the applicant “that this court lacked the powers to try allegation of spending of government’s money not appropriated for or approved.”