Police files charges against lawyer over forgery of court processes

 
Sun Mar 15th, 2020 - Abuja (FCT)
 

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By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA—The Nigeria Police Force has filed a criminal charge against a law practitioner, Eziafa Enwedo, for allegedly forging legal documents of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.

In the six-count charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/78/2020, which was lodged before the Federal High Court in Abuja, Police, said the defendant, by his action, committed an act of felony contrary to section 3 (b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under section 1(2) (c) of the same Act.

It told the court that some of the documents the lawyer forged included Originating Summons No. CA/3044/18, in the case that led to the judgement that removed Ifeanyi Ubah of the Young Peoples Party, YPP, as the lawmaker representing Anambra South Senatorial District.

The charge alleged that the defendant committed the alleged crime in connivance with four others that are currently at large.

Two of the counts in the charge read: “That you Eziafa Samuel Enwedo on or about September 2019 at the Federal Capital Territory within the jurisdiction of this court did conspire with Anani Anacletus Chuka, Aron Ifunanya, Faith Samuel and Obinna Uzor all of who are at large to commit a felony to with forging originating summons number CV/3044/18 Anani Anacletus Chuka Versus Ubah Ifeanyi Patrick and Others and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3(b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 Law’s Of the Federation Of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Section 1(2) of the same Act.

“That you Eziafa Samuel Enwedo (M) and the following other persons now at large that is Anani Anacletus Chuka(M),Aron Ifunanya (F), Faith Samuel (F) and Obinna Uzor (M) on or about September 2019 at the Federal Capital Territory Abuja; within the jurisdiction of this court, with intent to defraud, made a false document, namely a purported judgment in suit number CV/3044/18 knowing same to be false with the intent that it may be acted upon as genuine to the prejudice of Senator (Dr) Ubah Ifeanyi Patrick a distinguished Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 1(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, LFN 2004”.

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It will be recalled that Justice Bello Kawu of the Abuja High Court at Kubwa had on April 11, 2019, removed Ubah from the Senate over an allegation that he used a forged National Examination Council, NECO, certificate to contest the senatorial election that held in Anambra South on February 23, 2019.

Justice Kawu directed INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return it issued to Ubah and issue a fresh one to Dr. Obinna Uzoh of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who came 2nd at the election.

However, Ubah, who contended that he was neither joined as a party nor served with any process with respect to the suit, had since asked the Court of Appeal in Abuja to set-aside the judgement he said was obtained by fraud.

It was during compilation of the record of appeal that it was uncovered that the entire processes that culminated to the high court judgement, was forged.

Owing to the development, Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, constituted an administrative panel to establish the complicity or otherwise of officials of the court in the judicial fraud.

The administrative panel comprising of five Magistrates, had since summoned all the suspected judicial officers for questioning.

On its part, Police, at the end of its own investigation, dragged the lawyer, Enwedo, to the Federal High Court where he will be arraigned before Justice Okon Abang on Monday.

Ubah had in his petition to Police, narrated how he was able to detect some anomalies in the record of the high court before it was transmitted to the Court of Appeal.

According to him, “We also realized that the date on the original copy of the Aso Savings Deposit Slip with Teller No: 0148979, and the Revenue Receipt with Receipt No: 11643044 and Revenue No: 0148979 in furtherance of filing of the Originating Summons were mutilated to bear 19/10/2018 as the date of payment.

“On the 6th day of March 2020, we applied to the Chief Registrar of the FCT High Court for a confirmation of the date filing fee for the Originating Summons in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 was paid.

“The Chief Registrar of the FCT High Court, Abuja vide a letter dated the 6th day of March 2020, confirmed that payment for filing of Originating Summons in Suit No. FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 with Receipt No: 11643044 and Teller No: 0148979 in the sum of N4,300.00 (Four Thousand, Three Hundred Naira Only) was paid on the 25th day of September, 2019 by Aroh Ifunanya.

“As at the time the Judgment in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 was purportedly delivered, the Suit had not been filed as filing fees had not been paid. That as at the date of filing of this action as shown in the unmutilated receipt with Receipt No: 11643044 and Aso Savings and Loans Teller with Teller No: 0148979, that the Appellant / Applicant had been duly elected as the Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District and his election has been affirmed on the 9th day of September, 2019 by the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra State.

“That having regard to the authentic date of payment of filing fees, Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 was a post election matter and the lower court had no jurisdiction to entertain same.

“That by the above, the Suit, the entire proceedings and the Judgment emanating there from are manifestly incompetent as same never existed in the eyes of the law.

“​That the findings above caused the Appellant’s Counsel to re- examine all the processes in the Court file and in the process, I discovered that the Nigerian Bar Association Seal affixed on the processes by Counsel to the 1st Respondent named Aroh Ifunanya Esq with Enrolment No: SCN 101933 attached to the Written Address in Support of the Originating Summons dated 19th October, 2018.

“We also realized that the date on the original copy of the Aso Savings Deposit Slip with Teller No: 0148979, and the Revenue Receipt with Receipt No: 11643044 and Revenue No: 0148979 in furtherance of filing of the Originating Summons were mutilated to bear 19/10/2018 as the date of payment.

“On the 6th day of March 2020, we applied to the Chief Registrar of the FCT High Court for a confirmation of the date filing fee for the Originating Summons in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 was paid.

“The Chief Registrar of the FCT High Court, Abuja vide a letter dated the 6th day of March 2020, confirmed that payment for filing of Originating Summons in Suit No. FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 with Receipt No: 11643044 and Teller No: 0148979 in the sum of N4,300.00 (Four Thousand, Three Hundred Naira Only) was paid on the 25th day of September, 2019 by Aroh Ifunanya.

“As at the time the Judgment in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 was purportedly delivered, the Suit had not been filed as filing fees had not been paid.

“That as at the date of filing of this action as shown in the unmutilated receipt with Receipt No: 11643044 and Aso Savings and Loans Teller with Teller No: 0148979, that the Appellant / Applicant had been duly elected as the Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District and his election has been affirmed on the 9th day of September 2019 by the Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, Anambra State.

“That having regard to the authentic date of payment of filing fees, Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 was a post-election matter and the lower court had no jurisdiction to entertain same. That by the above, the Suit, the entire proceedings and the Judgment emanating therefrom are manifestly incompetent as same never existed in the eyes of the law.

“​That the findings above caused the Appellant’s Counsel to re-examine all the processes in the Court file and in the process, I discovered that the Nigerian Bar Association Seal affixed on the processes by Counsel to the 1st Respondent named Aroh Ifunanya Esq with Enrolment No: SCN 101933 attached to the Written Address in Support of the Originating Summons dated 19th October, 2018, Motion for Substituted Service dated 3rd December 2018 and Motion to Set Aside the Judgment dated 26th April 2019 all bore an expiration date of March 2020.

“That the Appellant’s Counsel being aware that NBA Seals have a life span of only one (1) year wrote a letter to the General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) dated 6th day of March 2020, to confirm the date of issuance of the seal affixed by Aroh Ifunanya on the said processes with Enrolment No: SCN 101933.

“That the NBA responded vide a letter dated 6th day of March 2020 and stated that the Stamp utilized by Ifunanya Nwando Aroh with Enrolment No: SCN 101933 was produced under Batch 137 on the 20th day of August 2019. That as at the time the Originating Summons was purportedly commenced on 19th October 2018 and up to when Judgment was delivered in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018, the Stamp and Seal with Enrolment No: SCN 101933 utilized by Ifunanya Nwando Aroh was non-existent as same had not been produced and duly issued by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

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“That I also discovered that the Nigerian Bar Association Seal affixed on the processes by Counsel to the 4th Respondent Eziafa Enwedo on the 4th Respondent’s Motion for Joinder dated 27th day of March 2019 and the Counter – Affidavit dated 2nd April 2019 and an Application for Certified True Copy of Judgment dated 12th day of April 2019 all bore an expiration date of March 2020.

“That the Appellant’s Counsel also in the Letter to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) dated 6th day of March 2020, requested the NBA to confirm the date of issuance of the seal affixed by Eziafa Enwedo on the Court processes in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018. That the NBA in its response letter dated 6th day of March 2020 stated that the Stamp utilized by Eziafa Enwedo with Enrolment No: SCN 089053 was produced under Batch 150 on the 11th day of September 2019.

“That as at the time the Application for joinder by the 4th Defendant and the Counter Affidavit to the Originating Summons were purportedly filed on 27th March 2019 and 2nd April 2019 respectively, and up to when Judgment was delivered in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018, the Stamp and Seal with Enrolment No: SCN 089053 for Eziafa Enwedo was non-existent as same had not been produced and duly issued by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). for Substituted Service dated 3rd December 2018 and Motion to Set Aside the Judgment dated 26th April 2019 all bore an expiration date of March 2020.

“That the Appellant’s Counsel being aware that NBA Seals have a life span of only one (1) year wrote a letter to the General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) dated 6th day of March 2020, to confirm the date of issuance of the seal affixed by Aroh Ifunanya on the said processes with Enrolment No: SCN 101933.

“That the NBA responded vide a letter dated 6th day of March, 2020 and stated that the Stamp utilized by Ifunanya Nwando Aroh with Enrolment No: SCN 101933 was produced under Batch 137 on the 20th day of August 2019. That as at the time the Originating Summons was purportedly commenced on 19th October 2018 and up to when Judgment was delivered in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018, the Stamp and Seal with Enrolment No: SCN 101933 utilized by Ifunanya Nwando Aroh was non-existent as same had not been produced and duly issued by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

“That I also discovered that the Nigerian Bar Association Seal affixed on the processes by Counsel to the 4th Respondent Eziafa Enwedo on the 4th Respondent’s Motion for Joinder dated 27th day of March, 2019 and the Counter – Affidavit dated 2nd April, 2019 and an Application for Certified True Copy of Judgment dated 12th day of April, 2019 all bore an expiration date of March 2020.

“That the Appellant’s Counsel also in the Letter to the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) dated 6th day of March 2020, requested the NBA to confirm the date of issuance of the seal affixed by Eziafa Enwedo on the Court processes in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018. That the NBA in its response letter dated 6th day of March, 2020 stated that the Stamp utilized by Eziafa Enwedo with Enrolment No: SCN 089053 was produced under Batch 150 on the 11th day of September 2019.

“That as at the time the Application for joinder by the 4th Defendant and the Counter Affidavit to the Originating Summons were purportedly filed on 27th March 2019 and 2nd April 2019 respectively, and up to when Judgment was delivered in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018, the Stamp and Seal with Enrolment No: SCN 089053 for Eziafa Enwedo was non-existent as same had not been produced and duly issued by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA)”.

 
 

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source: Vanguard