A Kogi High Court on Monday fixed Oct. 23 to rule in a suit of alleged certificate forgery filed against Deputy Governorship Candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Mr Sam Ranti-Abenemi.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the state government through the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mr Badama Kadiri, had filed an exparte Motion for the issuance of bench warrant against Ranti-Abenemi, over alleged refusal to appear in Court.
The government had accused the running mate of the SDP Governorship Candidate, Alhaji Yakubu Ajaka of submitting to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) a forged GCE O’Level certificate for the upcoming Nov. 11 governorship poll.
When the case came up for hearing, the government charged him with Perjury, False Declaration, Use of False Documents as Genuine and Possession of 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 in support of particulars, that he obtained the said GCE result.
“By so doing, he had committee an offence contrary to Sections 158, 164, 366 and 368 respectively of the Kogi state Penal Code,” the prosecution Counsel said.
Kadiri told that the case was filled following a complaint written to the Director of Security, Department of State Services (DSS) by one Shaibu O. Abdullahi, the vice chairman, Kogi Central Senatorial District of the SDP on the said forgery.
According to him, Abdullahi had alleged in the “Complaint” that Ranti-Abenemi presented a forged GCE result to INEC for the Nov. 11 governorship election.
The Prosecution further submitted that during investigation of the complaint by the DSS, several invitations were extended to the defendant but he failed to honour them.
He said that the case diary was forwarded to the office of the DPP for Legal Advice and the Legal Advice declared a prima facie case of Perjury, False Declaration, Use of False Documents as Genuine and Possession of Forged Record against Ranti-Abenemi.
Kadiri submitted that the Defendant had also refused to appear in court for his trial and went ahead to file 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 Department of State Services (DSS), 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, Mr Jibrin Samuel-Okutepa (SAN), objected to the application raised by the DPP”s applications on the ground that he was been economical with the truth.
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 Oct. 9, when the prosecution were 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 mobilized 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 appearance of impropriety”, SamuelOkutepa cautioned.
The trial judge, Justice A.S.Ibrahim, after listening to the arguments of both parties he adjourned to Oct. 23, for ruling on the Motion Ex Parte. (NAN)