Alleged NYSC certificate forgery: AGF to arraign Senator Konbowei March 26

The Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice will on March 26 arraign the senator representing Bayelsa Central, Benson Konbowei on charges of alleged forgery of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Certificate.

Senator Konbowei was to be docked before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on Monday February 12, but it was put off due to the absence of the defendant in court.

In the charge marked: CR/028/2023, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, preferred three charges, bordering on forgery of the NYSC exemption certificate, among others, against the senator.

He was specifically accused of criminally forging a document titled ‘Certificate of Exemption’ with number 000256454 and dated July 4, 2008.

The police said the senator acted contrary to the provisions of sections 366, 156 and 158 of the Penal Code, Act CAP 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990 and was liable to punishment under Section 364 of the same Act.

At the Monday’s proceedings at the FCT High Court sitting in Apo division, counsel to the senator, Gordy Uche (SAN) told the court that his client was “medically indisposed” and tendered a medical report to substantiate his claim.

He said, “My lord, the defendant is medically indisposed and cannot be in court. He is on a drip. I pray the court for an adjournment. I promise to provide him at the next proceedings.”

However, counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation, Egwuaba Reuben alleged that the senator was evading trial and prayed the court to issue a bench warrant of arrest against the senator.

Egwuaba said, “We oppose the medical report. He was at the Force Headquarters and wrote a petition against me on Friday where he stated that he wanted the police to continue with the case.

“He said he did not want me. In view of this, I seek an order of this court in accordance with Section 352 Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) to issue a warrant arrest on the defendant. His absence is a calculated attempt to undermine the court.”

The trial judge, Justice Christopher Oba, however, overruled him and accepted the tendered medical report.

“The problem is that the court is expected to act on fact. If you have a contrary view you should say it on oath or bring another document to show that the medical report is not the fact,” the court held.

The judge who observed that the document has no hospital name, ordered that the name of the hospital must be provided.

He adjourned the matter till March 26 and 28 for arraignment and commencement of trial.

“If you don’t come with your witnesses, I will strike out your case”, the Judge warned the police.

Earlier, there was a drama in court when Egwuaba and Eyinsan Lawrence introduced themselves as the counsel for the prosecution.

Egwuaba told the court that the AGF and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, (SAN) had taken over the case and that he had a fiat to represent him.

But Lawrence said Egwuaba just informed him some minutes ago.

He said, “I was just informed. Egwuba served me this morning. Our position is that the IGP should be served and we will be communicated to allow him to take over the matter.

“As it is, we will need time to investigate the fiat and his claim that the AGF has taken over the matter. ”

The judge overruled Lawrence on the matter, adding that the AGF is the Chief Law Officer of the country.

He said, “I will recognise him since he is from the AGF and has submitted a document to that effect. The AGF is the Chief Law Officer of the land.

“Go and investigate if there is a reason not to recognise him, come back to me. It is the law that I should act on this. I will not recognise your appearance.”

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