Certificate Forgery: Court Fixes October 23 to rule on Suit against SDP Deputy Guber Candidate in Kogi

The Kogi High Court on Monday fixed October 23 to rule in a suit of alleged certificate forgery filed against the deputy governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Sam Ranti-Abenemi.

The state government, through the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Badama Kadiri, had filed an ex parte motion to issue a bench warrant against Mr Ranti-Abenemi over his alleged refusal to appear in court.

The government accused the running mate of the SDP governorship candidate, Yakubu Ajaka, of submitting to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) a forged GCE O’Level certificate for the upcoming November 11 governorship poll.

The government charged him with perjury, false declaration, use of false documents as genuine, and possession of a forged record.

“My Lord, the SDP deputy governorship candidate did tender a forged 1979 Ordinarily Level Certificate in his Form EC9 submitted to INEC.

“Consequently, the accused has lied on oath in his Form EC9 (substitute) affidavit supporting particulars that he obtained the said GCE result.

“By so doing, he had committed an offence contrary to Sections 158, 164, 366, and 368, respectively, of the Kogi State Penal Code,” the prosecution counsel said.

Mr Kadiri said the case was filed following a complaint written to the director of the State Security Service (SSS) by one Shaibu O. Abdullahi, the vice chairman, Kogi Central Senatorial District of the SDP, on the said forgery.

According to him, Mr Abdullahi had alleged that Mr Ranti-Abenemi presented a forged GCE result to INEC for the governorship election.

The prosecution further submitted that during the investigation of the complaint by the SSS, several invitations were extended to the defendant, but he failed to honour them.

He said the case diary was forwarded to the office of the DPP for legal advice, and the legal advisor declared a prima facie case of perjury, false declaration, use of false documents as genuine, and possession of forged records against Mr Ranti-Abenemi.

Mr Kadiri submitted that the defendant had also refused to appear in court for his trial and filed the motion ex parte to compel appearance through a bench warrant.

“My Lord, it’s at this juncture, we are praying the court to grant an order issuing a bench warrant for the arrest of the defendant to come and answer the case against him.

“We are also praying for an order of the court directing all police officers, officers of the State Security Service (SSS), officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), or any other person executing the warrant of arrest to apprehend the defendant, ” he said.

But the counsel to the accused, Jibrin Samuel-Okutepa (SAN), objected to the application raised by the DPP applications on the ground that he had been economical with the truth.

Mr Samuel-Okutepa (SAN), flanked by J.O. Adele (SAN) and 12 other lawyers, told the court that the state was only exhibiting the “audacity of arrogance in trying to procure a bench warrant against the defendant.”

“My Lord, it may interest you to know that by the 9th of October, when the prosecution was filing the motion ex parte, they had not even served notice on the defendant.

“Even when your Lord came in and sat here in court, the bailiff had not yet been mobilised to effect service on our client.

“If he (Ranti-Abenemi) had been served, he would have been here. He has nothing to run away from.

“Therefore, granting this motion will be a dangerous precedent to set for criminal jurisprudence.

“Justice is not only for the DPP or Kogi state; it is also for the defendant. Justice hurried is justice denied. We should all flee from the appearance of impropriety,” Mr Samuel-Okutepa cautioned.

The trial judge, Justice A.S. Ibrahim, after listening to the arguments of both parties, adjourned to October 23 for ruling on the motion ex parte.


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