LP petition against Mbah: INEC closes defence without witness

Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has closed its case in the petition by Mr. Chijioke Edeoga, governorship candidate of Labour Party, LP, before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Enugu, without calling a witness.

The tribunal is hearing the petition by Edeoga against the election of Governor Peter Mbah of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Edeoga had asked the tribunal to disqualify Mbah over alleged National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, certificate forgery and manipulation of election results.

At the resumed hearing in the matter on Wednesday, INEC counsel, Mr. Humphrey Okoli informed the tribunal that after thorough review of their case, they decided not to put in any witness.

“Today, the first respondent is mandatory to open their defence, I wish to inform the court that after thorough review of the case, we have decided not to put in any witness,” he said.

Meanwhile, the counsel to Mbah, Mr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, called on the first defence witness, Uzo Amaechina, a medical doctor residing in Enugu to testify, in opening its case.

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Responding to the LP counsel, Mr. Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, the witness said that the election was conducted according to the provision of the law and the electoral guidelines.

The witness further said that he did not tender what he used for the preparation of his report for the court to verify because the petitioners witnesses had already tendered them while testifying.

Mr. Chijioke Edeoga, Enugu governorship candidate of Labour Party

 

He said there was no over voting in Akpofu, Isienu, Amagunze and Umuokwu polling units.

He said he was aware that Mbah engaged in NYSC programme in 2002.

Meanwhile, a PDP subpoena witness, Mr. Yahaya Muhammed, Deputy Director, State Security Service, Abuja through the counsel to PDP tendered an investigation report to the court on the alleged certificate forgery by Gov Mbah.

Awomolo objected to the admissibility of the document, saying that they would address the point of law in their final address.

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Awomolo said that the witness did not have a letter authorising him by the Director General of the State Security Service (SSS) to come and give evidence in the Tribunal as the subpoena was addressed to the witness personally and not as an institution.

He said that there was no stamp of Director General of SSS on the report, adding that the report was not written on the letter head of the institution as it did not carry the authority of the SSS.

He added that his report, which was marked exhibit 63, had no attachment of all the documents in the report, saying that the report was his personal report.

Responding to the counsel, the witness said that in their findings, they discovered that Mbah served in NYSC for six months and went to Law school and later completed the service.

According to him, Mbah wrote an application for leave to go for Law school through the Lagos State NYSC office.

“The correspondence has a reference number and the letter was replied permitting him to go to Law school and he replied through the same means as a corps member,” he said.

The tribunal adjourned further hearing to July 20.

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