Forgery/Impersonation: Court admits certified WAEC certificate against Edo lawmaker-elect

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FILE PHOTO: 73-year-old Bode Adegboyega docked for stealing tricycle engines.

By Jethro Ibileke/Benin

An Edo State High Court (Criminal Court 1), has admitted in evidence a certified copy of a certificate issued by the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC), against a lawmaker-elect of the Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA), Mr. Ugiagbe Onaiwu.

The Presiding Judge of the Court, Justice Efe Ikponmwoba, admitted the certified true copy of the WAEC result, after listening to arguments on the admissibility of the document, by Counsel to both the complainant and defendant, Peter Ojo and Paul Osarenkhoe respectively.

A WAEC staff, Mrs. Dupe Elemikhena, who was subpoenaed by the Court, acknowledged the tendered document to be a certified one by the Council.

In his argument against the admissibility of the document, Osarenkhoe called for its rejection on the ground that the subpoenaed staff of the Council is not the maker of the document.

Osarenkhoe also premised his argument on the fact that relevancy is not only the yardstick for admissibility.

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But, in his counter argument for the admissibility, Counsel to the State, Ojo, argued that the first rule of admissibility is in the relevance of a document.

“Since the document is relevant, it should thus be accepted and admitted in this case,” he stated.

Following the arguments, Justice Ikponmwoba subsequently adjourned the case to June 30, 2021, for the complainant to call his last witness on the case.

It would be recalled that the State had instituted a legal action against the EDHA APC candidate for the 2019 general elections, on the allegation of forgery and impersonation of the results he presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the poll.

Onaiwu is one of the 14 lawmakers elect, who refused to present themselves for inauguration in June 2019, when Governor Godwin Obaseki issued a proclamation for the inauguration.

The seats of the 14 members-elect were later declared vacant by a Port Harcourt Federal High Court, following their failure to meet the compulsory 180 days appearance in the House.

They rather preferred to pitch tent with the formal national chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, who fought dirty with his estranged political godson, Obaseki, in the build-up to the 2020 governorship election, which the governor eventually won on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).