US Denies Asking Nigeria To Extradite Buruji Kashamu
WRITTEN BY ABIODUN OLUWAROTIMI
…German, UK Embassies Confirm Kashamu’s Claim
…US Has No Case Against Me- Kashamu
…Details Of Document From Benin Police Vindicate Kashamu
…Americans Accuse Judge Norgle Of Bias In Ruling
……Buruji’s Name Not On INTERPOL’s Wanted List
The United States government has denied ever asking the federal government of Nigeria to extradite Senator Kashamu Buruji, a senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District, to face drug-related charges in America.
It would be recalled that the National Drugs Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) had sometimes last year which was towards the expiration of the immediate past administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan, invaded the Lagos home of the Ogun state-born business mogul, trying to apprehend and extradite him to the United States.
The Nigerian drug agency which maintained then, that it was acting under the extradition request that the Federal Ministry of Justice had received from the United States Department of Justice later vacated the politician’s residence. That was after a Lagos court had twice ruled against the NDLEA’s operatives actions.
Also about two months ago, Senator Buruji Kashamu had raised another alarm through his lawyer, Prince Ajibola Oluyede , saying that the federal government was making fresh plans to illegally take him to the United States to be tried afresh for an offense he claimed and still claims he didn’t commit.
But in an online interview with NIGERIAN CONCORD, Deputy Judge of the Chicago District Court, Justice Eric Fulbright, said that there was no record that the United States Department of Justice truly demanded from the Nigerian government that Senator Buruji be brought to America to be tried afresh for drug-related offense.
Justice Eric Fulbright is the second in command to Judge Richard Norgle who is presently handling the drug case between the United States Department of Justice and Senator Buruji Kashamu.
In the interview, Judge Fulbright also made it known that it would be wrong for the Attorney General’s office in Nigeria to still be saying that his country has made a formal request to extradite the politician to face criminal charges in the United States.
He however didn’t rule out the possibility that the United States Judiciary will effect Buruji Kashamu’s arrest and trial if he willingly comes to the country to face the charges against him at the Chicago District Court being president over by Judge Richard Norgle.
“As far as I know, they have not made a formal request. The requests we made in the past under the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan failed, and we have not made any fresh one(s) since then” he said, directing our reporter to seek for further clarification from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois for further details.
Buruji Kashamu had maintained that he is not the Adewale Kashamu that is being wanted in the United States for drug-related offense, stressing that he (Buruji) was actually arrested in the United Kingdom in where he was held in prison for some years
He says he was released to return back to Nigeria when the United Kingdom authorities found out that his arrest, detention and trial was a result of mistaken identity.
He also says that the German Embassy in Lagos had once invited him to obtain a Visa to travel to Germany after it was clear that the INTERPOL had cancelled its Warrant of Arrest against him. That was after his visa application to the embassy was earlier turned down as a result of a presumed existing arrest warrant.
Seeking clarification, our reporter in his spirited efforts also contacted the German Embassy in Lagos where the copy of a document obtained by NIGERIAN CONCORD indicated that the International Police (INTERPOL) had earlier cancelled the arrest warrant it imposed against the senator immediately it discovered that the United States authorities had at the end of August, 2008 withdrawn its own Search Warrant against him.
NIGERIAN CONCORD also contacted the United Kingdom High Commission in Abuja where a letter dated April 27, 2015 made it known that the British government is no longer interested in any matter concerning Senator Buruji Kashamu.
Mr. Robert Hunter, a Police Advisor of the High Commission in Abuja who addressed the letter to Mr. Solomon Arase, Inspector General of Police, Force CID Headquarters, Garki Area 10′ noted that the United Kingdom had withdrawn its interest from the case the senator having being discharged in 2003 by the same British authorities.
The embassy’s police advisor further said that Senator Buruji Kashami is no longer wanted in connection with any drug-related offenses within the United Kingdom jurisdiction.
The letter continued that the British Magistrate who freed Buruji Kashamu in 2003 did so when he was satisfied that the accused person had no case to answer, stressing that this was why the United Kingdom authorities had decided to cancel the extradition request they received from the United States Justice Department.
“I understand that the US authorities are seeking his extradition but can confirm that we have no current interest in this matter and he is not wanted in connection with any other offenses within our jurisdiction” Rober Hunter said in the letter which was also obtained by NIGERIAN CONCORD.
It would be recalled that Senator Buruji Kashamu’s lawyer, Prince Ajibola Oluyede of Triplaw Chambers, said that the case against his client was a case of mistaken identity, noting that a fugitive is someone who had never been tried by any court of law for criminal offenses he was being alleged to have committed.
Oluyede added that the case of his client was different having being tried and discharged proven innocent by a United Kingdom court for the same criminal charge.
Kashamu’s lawyer proceeded in his reaction that Judge Norgle concluded erroneously in his ruling where he said that there was an evidence in the record that suggests that a request to the Nigerian government would have been denied, faulting the Judge’s assertion that it was testimony and evidence produced by Nigeria which led to Kashamu’s release in England and also that Kashamu’s status as a political figure in Nigeria and his relationship with President Goodluck Jonathan likewise suggest that an extradition attempt would have been futile.
He also noted that it was wrong for the judge to say that the reason the U.S. government was unable to make an attempt for Kashamu’s extradition in the 11 years since his release in England was attributable to his political status and relationship with President Jonathan, adding that there was no evidence on record that Kashamu had any relationship with the President except for speculation in the media, which was not before the judge. “This finding is therefore based on extraneous considerations, mischievous and seems calculated to embarrass the Nigerian Government” said he.
In addition, NIGERIAN CONCORD contacted the Department of Immigration of the Federal Republic of Benin where various documents which were obtained indicate that a drug trafficking group actually existed in Cotonou in 1994.
One of the documents with reference number 157MISATDGPNDPJBCNIPSPC which was signed by the then Inspector General of Benin National Police, Mr. Raymond Fadonougbo, on the 3rd April, 2001, fingered one Mr. Alhaji Adewale Kashamu (Senator Buruji’s relative), Emmanuel Ugbade, Mrs Toun. Nicolas Fillmore, Cleary Wolters, Ellen Wolters, Oumiou Samadou, Gbenga Giwa and Akim Shokunbi as the conspirators behind the network that was dealing in suspicious activities majorly in drug trafficking.
Also, a document from the Benin Republic’s Telecommunication and Postal Agency which contained various payments made for telephone bills by the said Mr. Adewale Adeshina Kashamu between January 1992 and February 1993 was also obtained by NIGERIAN CONCORD.
This document from Benin Telecom indicates Mr. Adewale Kashamu’s telephone number as 301258, and this is one of the telephone numbers that the then Inspector General of Benin Police listed in his April 3, 2001 letter to the British Police as the major line being used by the conspirators to transact the drug deals.
Checks at the Bank of Africa through a document with reference number 0458-2002/OTL/FT of 28 May 2002 which was signed by the then Inspector General of Benin, Mr. Raymond Fadonougbo, disclosed that an account with numbers 01611168647 was opened on April 30, 1992 at the Bank by Mr. Kashamu Adewale Adesina born on January 6, 1964 in Ikorodu Lagos state, with Passport Number A870428, an international passport that was issued on April 20, 1990 in Abuja.
Also, when NIGERIAN CONCORD visited the official website of the International Police (INTERPOL), it was discovered Senator Buruji Kashamu’s name is not presently on the list of the criminals being wanted by the agency.
US Has No Case Against Me- Buruji
Saying that the United States Department of Justice had no case against him, Senator Kashamu Buruji has maintained that he had never stepped his feet on any part of the United States of America.
Although, the lawmaker agreed that he uses to travel to other parts of the world for business transactions, he said that he deliberately has never visited the United States since he doesn’t have any business ties there.
The lawmaker disclosed that attempts were being made by his political detractors and their agents to twist Judge Norgle’s ‘satanic’ ruling, stressing that the US court did not establish any case against him. “I am the one who has been going to various courts in the US since 2009 to remove the stain of the purported indictment which was erroneously made against me because I am convinced that such a move would not only clear my name but also put a stop to the blackmail and the campaign of calumny against my person” he noted.
His words: “As I have often stated, the United States Government had caused extradition proceedings to be commenced against me in England for the purpose of taking me to the US court for trial in respect of the charges made in the said indictment. However, in two judgments dated the 2nd December, 2000 and 10th January, 2003, the English courts rejected the application for my extradition to the US on the basis that it was a case of mistaken identity. In fact, the original charge, from 1994 to 1998, had nothing to do with me. My name was not mentioned in the whole proceedings. That in itself puts a question mark on the US court’s jurisdiction over me”
It would be recalled that Ms. Patricia John of the British Judiciary during a finding in 2014 had said that Kashamu whose innocence was proven and affirmed by the Royal Court of Justice in England presided over by Lord Justice Pill and Mr. Justice Bell in 2003 was unconditionally released when it became clear to the UK authorities that the US Justice Department could not substantiate its claims that he was the most wanted Alhaji who was allegedly mentioned by others arrested as their principal conspirator.
The UK official further said that it was discovered that Buruji’s case was a case of mistaken identity, stressing that the Chicago prosecutors at that time had also tainted their eyewitness identification evidence by failing to disclose that one Mr. Nicolas Fillmore, one of the co-defendants, failed to pick him (Kashamu) out of a photo lineup.