Nigerian lawmaker arraigned for alleged forgery of NYSC certificate

 

The senator representing Bayelsa Central Senatorial District, Konbowei Benson, was arraigned before the FCT High Court in Abuja on Tuesday for allegedly forging exemption certificate of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

Mr Benson, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was arraigned on a three-count charge for acting contrary to provisions of Penal Code Act, forgery of the NYSC exemption certificate and submitting the forged certificate to secure admission into the School of Postgraduate Studies of the Imo State University, Owerri.

In February, the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, instituted a forgery suit against the lawmaker.

In the suit marked: CR/028/2023, the IGP specifically accused the senator of forging a document titled ‘Certificate of Exemption’ with number 000256454 and dated 4 July 2008.

Mr Benson was subsequently charged to court and was to be arraigned on 12 February at the FCT High Court in Abuja, but his absence, due to ill health, stalled the arraignment.

The senator’s counsel, Gordy Uche, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), told the court on that day that his client was “medically indisposed” and submitted a medical report to substantiate his claim.

“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,” the counsel pleaded.

Charges

At the resumed proceeding on Tuesday, Mr Benson and his counsel were present.

Count one of the charges against the senator was that he 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.

Other charges are “That you, Benson Friday Konbowei, sometime in March 2014 within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory fraudulently used as genuine a certain document to wit: Certificate of Exemption Number 000256454 dated 4th of July 2008 signed by the Director-General, NYSC, Directorate Headquarters, Abuja to the Independent National Electoral Commission to contest election into the Bayelsa State House of Assembly in 2015 election, which you won and represented Southern Ijaw Constituency IV and the Bayelsa Central Senatorial District National Assembly election conducted on February 25, 2023, which you won and currently a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“And you also submitted four copies of the same forged NYSC certificate to gain admission into the School of Postgraduate Studies of the Imo State University, Owerri, which you then knew to be a forged document and you submitted four copies of the forged Certificate of Exemption Number 000256454 dated July 4, 2008, as a compulsory requirement to the School of Postgraduate Studies of the Imo State

University Owerri, which is a compulsory requirement to get admission into the school of postgraduate studies to study.”

Mr Benson, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges when they were read to him.

The trial judge, Christopher Oba, adjourned the case till 28 March for the commencement of trial.


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