Alleged Certificate Forgery: Tribunal summons Governor to appear Friday
The Enugu State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal has ordered the state governor, Peter Mbah, to appear before it tomorrow, Friday.
The order was sequel to an application made by the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, through its counsel, Barr Alex Amujiogo.
Candidate of the PRP, Elder Christopher Agu is in court seeking to upturn the declaration of Barr Peter Mbah as the winner of the March 18 governorship election conducted in the State.
He is also claiming that Mbah was not qualified to contest the election, having allegedly forged National Youths Service Corps, NYSC, discharge certificate, among other issues.
At the resumed hearing, the PRP’s counsel, Amujiogo told the tribunal that Mbah was supposed to be in court as a subpoenaed witness.
He, however, said from the affidavit deposed to by the bailiff of the Tribunal, it had been difficult to serve Mbah the summon.
Amujiogo then moved an application, urging the Tribunal to grant a substituted service of the summon on Mbah through his counsel.
Although the application was opposed by the three respondents, the INEC, Mbah as well as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on the grounds that it was supposed to come by way of motion, supported by an affidavit during pre-trial session, they were overruled by the Tribunal.
Chairman of the Panel, Justice K. M. Akano ordered that the subpoena be served on Mbah through his counsel and that he should appear before the Tribunal tomorrow, June 23, 2023.
Earlier, the PRP guber candidate during the election, Agu, had also testified before the Tribunal as PW2.
An official of the NYSC from the National Secretariat, Abuja, Barr. Aliu Muhammed, who also appeared on behalf of the Director-General of the Corps, tendered an affidavit to the Tribunal, declaring that an order of a Federal High Abuja, was inhibiting them from tendering the disclaimer the Corps made against Mbah’s certificate.
The PRP lawyer, Amujiogo told journalists after the Tribunal’s sitting that “our PW2 (Christopher Agu) has already testified before the Honourable Tribunal and he has given a clearer picture, the synopsis of what transpired during the election and we are urging the Tribunal to set aside the purported result in favour of Peter Mbah, the Governor.
“We had an issue of subpoena against Barr Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, in which the Tribunal is urging him to appear before it to clarify certain issues against him, based on his NYSC certificate and other matters.
“Surprisingly, he was not in the Tribunal today and the bailiff informed the Tribunal that he is invading service, he cannot find him, the security cannot allow him to serve Mbah the subpoena.
“Then, the Tribunal in its own wisdom, after I have applied, has now permitted the bailiff or myself, to now serve Mbah through his counsel, for him to appear before the Tribunal tomorrow, being 23rd of June, 2023 and clarify certain issues against him before the Tribunal and we have already served him the said subpoena through his lawyer, Ik Onuoma today in court.
“So he must obey the summon of the Tribunal by appearing in person tomorrow, Friday.”
Meanwhile, the case filed by the Labour Party, LP, guber candidate, Barr Chijioke Edeoga also came up before the Tribunal.
Edeoga’s pending application was moved before the Tribunal, after which the suit was adjourned for ruling on the application he filed before the Tribunal, as well as a pre-trial report.
One of his counsels, Barr Ifeanyi Ogenyi, who spoke to journalists after the session, said the proceeding was a continuation of the pre-hearing session.
According to him, “Pre-hearing started on 16th June and continued today; the petitioners brought an application, a motion interrogatories, seeking for answers from the second respondent, that is Mr Peter Mbah.
“Interrogatory is a legal questionnaire; it is seeking for answers to those questions.
“And some of the questions raised by the petitioners to Peter Mbah which we are urging the Tribunal that he (Mbah) should answer are: when and where did he serve? When was he appointed as Chief of Staff, the date? When was he made commissioner for finance in Enugu State? We want to know the duration he served.
“Because in his pleading, in his reply to the petition, he told the Tribunal that he was once Chief of Staff to Governor Chimaroke Nnamani in 2003, we want to know the year and the date he was appointed.
“We equally want him to produce before the Tribunal, the letter of appointment as Chief of Staff, the letter of appointment as commissioner for finance under Chimaroke and the institutions he said he attended; we want to have the documents showing that he attended those institutions.
“And the court is to deliver a ruling on that on 24th of June, that is on Saturday, whether he should answer those questions or not.”
“On their own side, they said ‘No’, they are not going to answer those questions; that answering those questions means that we want him to prove our case for us.
“But that is not the position. It is required under the law that where somebody has made volunteered some information, you can seek for further particulars;
“What we are seeking for is further particulars; he should clarify the Tribunal and us information on those issues he raised in his own pleadings.
“On 24th, we will be here for ruling and possibly conclusion of pre-hearing, and after pre-hearing and report is issued, we can now proceed to substantive hearing,” he added.