The Federal High Court sitting in Benin City has ruled that the evidence of WAEC is admissible in the certificate forgery case instituted against the APC Candidate in the March 9, 2019 Edo State House of Assembly election, Mr. Dumez Oniawu Ugiagbe by the PDP Candidate, Mr. Nosa Victor Omoregie. During the hearing session that commenced June 28, 2019 after series of objections raised by the defendant Counsel, Barrister Paul Osarenkhoe, WAEC on subpoena, provided all documents in the alleged certificate forgery case against the APC Candidate.
The defendant put up an argument based on the provision of section 84(4) of the 2011 Evident Act that determines the mode of presentation of such evidence. The Counsel to PDP Candidate, Barr. Martins Omo-Ighekpe argued that the documents in question were produced and brought to the court by the sole authority in charge of the said examination in West Africa and therefore cannot be faulted. Also the documents were relevant to the case in question as proof of relevance was a fundamental requirement in evidence.
The Judge, Justice Mohammed G. Umar, however adjourned to make his ruling on the matter. The ruling came on July 2, 2019. The Justice of the Federal High Court overruled the defendant’s objection insisting that it was a matter of simple logic and without dispute, the documents were relevant to the case and therefore admissible. The documents were marked as exhibits.
On same day INEC on subpoena tendered the form CF001 of both the PDP and APC candidate and both were admitted as exhibits.
The PDP Candidate, Mr. Nosa Victor Omoregie, had, upon confirmation from WAEC that the passport photograph of the person that sat for the WAEC examination was different from the person parading himself as the owner of the certificate, approached Federal High Court alleging Certificate forgery.
Even though the certificate bore the names Mr. Dumez Oniawu Ugiagbe, it was clear that the APC candidate wasn’t the person who sat for the examination as the passport photograph clearly revealed! Mr Dumez Onaiwu Ugiagbe submitted the fake result to INEC on form CF001 for the election.
All efforts made by the defendant’s Counsel to get the Court to strike out the case on lack of jurisdiction have been rejected by the Court. According to the Justice, any person that provides false information in INEC Form CF001 which is an affidavit form must be made to answer for the crime. The case has been adjourned to October 9, 2019 for further hearing with the PDP Candidate coming up with three (3) more witnesses.
Certificate forgery is both a civil and criminal issue. You will recall, that the PDP Candidate had petitioned the Commissioner of Police, Edo State, to investigate the APC Candidate, Mr. Dumez Oniawu Ugiagbe on the same certificate forgery and lying on oath. The investigation is still on going. If convicted, the crime may attract a culminated sentenses of over 10 years.
Any political party that is careless enough to submit candidates for elections without doing due diligence should be made to suffer any consequence .
THIS UPDATE IS BY CHRIS OSA NEHIKHARE, SPS PDP EDO STATE.