By NewsCritic Reporters
Abia State High Court siting in Umuahia was today told that the House of Representatives member representing Bende federal constituency, Hon Benjamin Kalu, lied on oath by tendering school results that doesn’t belong to him for his election in 2019.
Also, the state high court presided by Justice Chijioke has fixed August 23, 2021 for judgement in the case of forgery and perjury brought against the House of Representatives spokesperson and member representing Bende federal constituency by Hon Ezeala Okechukwu, the claimant who is an APC chieftain in Abia state.
While presenting their final addresses today before Justice Chijioke of the state high court Umuahia, counsel to the claimant Okey Amaechi (SAN), said their case against the first respondent is that he didn’t show that he was educated up to school certificate level. He said that their argument is based on the fact that all the purported academic certificates submitted by Hon Benjamin Kalu when contesting election in 2019, none of them is bearing his name right from primary school, University to law school.
The counsel to the claimant stated that all the academic certificates bear Osisiogu which is strange.Okey Amaechi(SAN) further pointed out that the first defendant in his response admitted that Osisiogu is not his surname, and that he adopted it from an uncle, arguing that that is not correct.The claimant’s counsel argued that the NYSC discharge certificate procured by Hon Benjamin Kalu was given the same year the man was in the law school, which he claimed was procured for the purposes of this election.
He said the preliminary objection of the third defendant (INEC) that they didn’t bring the action within the constitutional 14 days time frame allowed for pre-election matters has been settled by the Supreme Court, which held that theirs is an exception because the action is illegal and that time doesn’t run against it.”We urge you my Lord to grant all the reliefs sought because the defendants have virtually no defence”, he concludes.The reliefs sought is that the court should determine if the first respondent is a valid candidate in that election and that if not, the next candidate should be given the election.
However, KC Nwaoffor, SAN, counsel to the first respondent (Hon Ben Kalu) submitted that it’s trite law that he who alleges proves. He said the first defendant in his counter affidavit has stated that all the certificates bearing Osisiogu are all referable to him, and that he attached evidence of affidavits of change of name.
He argued that the supreme court held that in a situation like this, if the person challenging him fails to say who is the owner of those documents, that he has no case.The respondent counsel also submitted that the argument by the Claimant’s counsel that the use of the word forgery and perjury is not criminal but civil is misconstrued. Adding that you must not only prove it beyond every reasonable doubt but also tender two sets of documents, one on forgery and another on perjury.
“So having alleged it’s forged and we said no, the onus is on them to prove it, he argued. He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the suit with substantial cost.
On her part, E.I Amadi (Mrs) counsel to the third defendant (INEC) urged the court to dismiss the suit in its entirety for lack of jurisdiction with punitive cost.