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I'm ready to spend N1bn for PDP to win Ekiti election - Prince Kashamu

Prince Buruji Kashamu is the financier of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State. In this interview with SEGUN OLATUNJI, he speaks on the many controversies surrounding his personality and the crisis rocking the PDP in the South West
Is it true that you are an international drug dealer?
I do not know what you are talking about. I have been in business since I was 18 years old. I built my first building in life in 1978 – a block of four flats in Ikotun Egbe, Lagos suburb. Today, I can count 65 houses; an industry that produces raw cotton (ginnery) in the Republic of Benin; two estates and many houses being managed by my real estate company; two hotels; an investment company that trades in shares, running into billions of naira and an oil marketing firm, among others. I have given you this background information to let you know that I do not have any reason whatsoever to be involved in drugs.

Continue after the cut below.....

I have never in my life travelled to America or had any business in America, or even applied for its visa since I was born.  So, if there was a case of mistaken identity,  that does not make me to be a drug dealer. But our kind of politics is such that people take delight in blackmailing their opponents. But that will never deter me from my commitment to liberating our people.  More often than not, politicians ride on the back of our poor people to attain positions of authority, albeit violently. In the process, a lot of people die cheaply over a meagre N1, 000 or N2,000 but when they get into office, they soon forget the poor on whose back they rode to power. Intoxicated by perks of office and attraction of power, they would begin to impose their surrogates on the generality of the people. This is the kind of politics that I detest and have been fighting. A drug dealer does not fight publicly. A drug dealer does not live in the public eye. I am a genuine businessman with verifiable sources of income who has over 2,000 workers on his pay roll.
Furthermore, I think I have sufficiently addressed this issue in the newspapers and other media. The case that my detractors always refer to was a case of mistaken identity in a drug-related offence which happened over 19 years ago and for which I have been discharged and acquitted by the British courts. The British court, as per Lord Justice Pill and Mr. Justice Bell of the High Court of Justice, Queen Bench Division, said the US authorities suppressed exculpatory evidence in their desperation to indict me and discharged me in accordance with Articles 5 and 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Human Rights Act, 1998. The District Judge Tim Workman in finally discharging me in 2003 found from the evidence adduced during the three-year trial that I was not the person sought by the U.S. authorities and it was a case of mistaken identity. The U.S. Judge Norgle, in whose court I was also tried, held that I am not a fugitive from justice.
District Judge Workman in his judgment said, "As a result of the evidence that the Defence has placed before me and the evidence which the government has tendered in rebuttal, I find the following facts: that the defendant has a brother who bears a striking resemblance to that of his brother; I am satisfied that the defendant's brother was one of the co-conspirators in the drugs importation which involved Catherine and Ellen Wolters…
"I am however satisfied that the overwhelming evidence here is such that the identification evidence, already tenuous, has now been so undermined as to make it incredible and valueless. In those circumstances, there is then no prima facie case against the defendant and I propose to discharge him." So, if the first and second British courts tried and discharged me, what is the hullabaloo about? Again, you may wish to cross-check with the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency if I am one of the suspected drug dealers on its list.
In fact, the NDLEA in a counter-affidavit dated 6th of July, 2013 in Suit No FHC/L/CS/49/10, deposed to by one of its operatives, Kareem Olayinka, said in Paragraph 13 "That up till date, the United States Government has not made any request for the extradition of the Applicant (Prince Buruji Kashamu) to the 4th defendant (Chairman, Nigeria Drug Law and Enforcement Agency) to arrest, harass, detain, intimidate or prosecute the applicant for any reasons."  It also attached a list of wanted suspected drug suspects.
What's the source of your wealth?
(Laughs) Well, I don't know what you mean by the source of my wealth. But if you meant where I get the money to pay my bills, I will say that I am a  comfortable businessman and an entrepreneur. Since I ventured into business as a teenager in secondary school, I have never looked back. I am a shareholder in a number of companies here in Nigeria and across the West Coast. By the grace of God, I have an oil marketing firm. I own hotels and a property company with assets running into billions of Naira, among others. Now, the thing is not that I am the richest man in Ogun State or even in my community but the difference is that I give more freely than most of the rich men around; whatever I have, I share with people around me. And the more I do this, the more the almighty Allah blesses me. That is what makes it look as if I am outrageously rich!
But the United States' Federal Bureau is looking for you…
(Cuts in) I put the question back to you: what is my offence? And what is my business with FBI? Where is the warrant of arrest? Indeed if any international security agency is looking for anyone, it will go through the Interpol. I have had cause to publish the Interpol report which exonerated me of any wrong doing, both locally and internationally. It is dated 4th March, 2008. The Interpol in the six-page report, signed by ACP Haruna H. Mshelia for the Commissioner of Police (Interpol), particularly at Clause XI says "That contrary to the allegation, the suspect was not found to have engaged in fraudulent/clandestine activities as all records were checked both locally and internationally and all our probes were returned negative.
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