ALLEGED FORGERY: IGBEKE FAILS TO APPEAR IN COURT
A Federal High Court has fixed October 26, 2011 for the arraignment of Senator Alphonsus Igbeke alleged to have forged the result of the senatorial primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Anambra North senatorial district.
The arraignment slated for yesterday could not hold following the absence of Senator Igbeke in court. It was the second time he would not be available in court since the charges were filed against him by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice.
His counsel, Chief Tochukwu Onwubufo (SAN), however, attributed the absence of his client to the confusion created by the aborted nationwide strike.
According to him 'my Lord, my client intended to appear before you today but due to the confusion created by the labour strike hence, he could not make as he was in Lagos. So, I would be asking for another date to enable him be in court.
Onwubufo had also asked the court presided over by Justice Adamu Bello to strike out the case on the ground that the prosecutor from the office of the AGF was not present in court.
But Justice Bello turned down the request, saying: 'Your client was not in court equally, so, how can you be asking for the striking out of the matter. The confusion over the said strike may have also affected him.'
The two-count charges read:
•That you, Alphonsus Uba Igbeke [m] at about the 21st day of January, 2011 in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria did make a forged document described as the Senatorial Primary Result sheet for the Peoples Democratic party [PDP] of Anambra North zone knowing it to be false to wit: you falsely represented the votes scored by the aspirants as follows: John Emeka Jnr-156; Chief A. Igbeke-1173; Chief Denis Odife-15; Hon. Uzoka Okwudili-34; Hon. Celestine Ughanze-297 and Chief Tony Nnacheta-25, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1  [c] of the miscellaneous Offences Act 2004 and punishable under section 1 of the same Act.
•That you, Alphonsus Uba Igbeke [m] at about the 21st day of January, 2011 in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria did make a forged document described as the senatorial primary result sheet for the Peoples Democratic party [PDP] of Anambra North Zone knowing it to be false to wit: you falsely represented the votes scored by the aspirants as follows: John Emeka Jnr-156; Chief A. Igbeke-1173; Chief Denis Odife-15; Hon. Uzoka Okwudili-34; Hon. Celestine Ughanze-297 and Chief Tony Nnacheta-25, with intent that it may be used by yourself to buttress your prayer to the Federal High Court in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/189/2011 to be declared winner of the Senatorial party primary to the prejudice of John Emeka the real winner and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1  [c] of the miscellaneous offences Act 2004 and punishable under section 1 of the same Act.
An Abuja Magistrate Court had earlier issued a warrant for the arrest of the Senator over a similar crime. But the warrant, which empowered all police officers to arrest, Igbeke anywhere he was found was later discharged by the court.
The police had told an Abuja Federal High Court that Igbeke forged the documents he presented to court to obtain the judgment that declared him as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the April 9th National Assembly elections.
Igbeke had filed an application for the enforcement of his rights at a Federal High Court in Abuja when police wrote to the Clerk of the National Assembly asking for Igbeke to be released for questioning.
But in a counter-affidavit filed by the police in reaction to Igbeke's application for enforcement of his rights, the police said that they were prepared to charge him with forgery.
In order to stop the police from arresting him, Igbeke had filed the application under the Fundamental Enforcement Procedure Rules where he claimed that the police were hunting him because they wanted to stop him from campaigning for the April 9th elections.
But in a swift reaction, the police filed a counter-affidavit deposed to by Jonah Wutu, a police officer attached to the Legal/Prosecution Section of the Force Criminal Investigation Department.
In the counter-affidavit, a copy of which was obtained from the Federal High Court by our correspondent, the police described how Igbeke altered the result of the PDP conducted primaries for selection of the candidate to fly the party's flag for the Anambra North Senatorial District.
The police, John Emeka junior who polled 1,156 votes as against Igbeke's 74 votes won the primary.
But in another suit filed by Igbeke at the Federal High Court in Abuja, he claimed that he was the one who scored the highest votes of 1,156 from the primary conducted by Benji Udeozor-led Peoples Democratic Party Executive Committee in Anambra State.
The police however found as a fact that it was Emeka who won the said primaries.
Relying on these false depositions by Ugbeke, Justice Abdul Kafarati gave judgment in his favour.
When Emeka got wind of the claims by Ugbeke, he wrote a complaint to the police. After carrying out a preliminary investigation, the police said that they discovered that Ugbeke had committed forgery.