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APGA Crisis: Masalla Loses Bid To Stop Forgery Trial

By Joe Nwankwo
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Self-acclaimed National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Sadiq Masalla, on Tuesday lost in his bid to stop his trial by an Abuja High Court over allegations of forging the signatures of the party's National Working Committee (NWC).

The court, presided over by Justice Peter Kekemeke, in his ruling on the application brought by Masalla through his counsel, Tochukwu Onwubufor (SAN), stated that the applicant did not meet the conditions to warrant the grant of the application.

His words: “The application to stay further proceedings in this matter is incompetent as the applicant did not meet the conditions precedent for the grant of the application.

“For the application to be competent, there must be a competent notice of appeal before the court and arguable grounds of appeal.

“The application having been to be incompetent is hereby dismissed.

It would be recalled that Masalla had earlier an application asking the court to quash charges against an application that he lost.

He subsequently filed an application for a stay of further hearing of the matter on the grounds that they have filed an appeal.

The matter is adjourned to November 26 for arraignment.

Specifically, Onwubufor had in an objection praying the court to quash the charges averred that the materials placed before it which warranted the leave granted the prosecution to arraign the accused person (Masalla) were not sufficient for the court to grant the said leave.

According to him, “materials placed before this court are the proof of evidence which contains the names of the six witnesses we are not challenging the charge, but we are challenging your Lordships consent that brought the charge into effect so until the consent giving by the court is validly before the issue of arraignment does not arise.

“The motion seeks to quash the charge on the grounds that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the charge and that the application to prefer the charge did not comply with the Criminal Procedure Code, the proof of evidence attached to the affidavit did not indicate the offenses of forgery.

“That the charge is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court processes, and that an accused person is entitled to bring an application to quash a charge on an indictment if he perceives that the charge would affect his right and is an abuse of court of processes moreover the application was brought behind his back ex-parte”, he added.

But the prosecutor, Frances Irabor, had in his response opposed the application on the grounds that the accused person ought to have been in court before his objection could be entertained by the court.

He said: “The accused was charged with forgery for using as genuine forged documents under the Penal Code, it is trite law that all cases of forgery is triable in all courts of the FCT we also rely on Section 257 and 286 to urge the court to hold that it has the jurisdiction to try the case”.