Tribunal rejects Mbah’s request to strike out NYSC certificate forgery case

Enugu State Election Petition Tribunal has rejected a request by legal representatives of Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State to strike out a petition seeking to disqualify him over the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate forgery scandal.

The candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party in the March 18 election, Chief Chris Agu had dragged Mbah to the tribunal demanding that the PDP candidate be disqualified for submitting a forged NYSC certificate to INEC prior to the election. Agu is also seeking among other things to be declared winner of the election on the basis that he won the majority of valid votes during the election.

The chairman of the tribunal, Kudirat Akano, after examining arguments from both sides, ruled that the motion to strike out the case was premature, insisting that certificate forgery was a weighty matter. She also ruled that whatever counter or objection against the petition should be done at the end of the trial, when the tribunal will give final judgement on the validity or otherwise of their demand.

Speaking after the session on Friday, counsel to Chief Agu, Barr Alex Amujiogu said that lawyers informed the tribunal that they have exchanged their pretrial forms but revealed that there were some documents which were yet to be viewed by both counsels.

He said, “We also proposed in our individual capacity on how we intend the lawyers to go on to pursue the case so that at the end of the day, the tribunal will issue a pretrial report on how the parties are to present and conclude their cases. So the only issue that is now left in the pretrial is that there are some documents which were alluded to by the respondents which have not been front-loaded.

“So the tribunal in its wisdom is asking that the counsels should meet and ensure that all necessary documents which need to be tendered at the trial are in the purview of fellow counsels. The tribunal adjourned the matter to June 14 to conclude pretrial and to enable the tribunal to issue a report or a guideline on how the trial will commence.”