Court rejects President Jonathan’s letterhead in case against Leadership journalists

Justice Usman Musale of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Kubwa, on Wednesday rejected a headed paper emanating from the Chief of Staff to President Goodluck Jonathan, in the suit filed by the federal government against two journalists of the Leadership newspaper.

The government had in April 2103, filed an alleged forgery suit against the publication’s Group News Editor, Tony Amokeodo, and Senior Correspondent, Chibuzor Ukaibe.

The accused had earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Upon resumption of the case on Wednesday, counsel to the federal government, Adegboyega Awomolo, through a police officer and witness, Ibrahim Bako, tendered the document which they claimed was from the Office of the Chief of Staff, though it was not on letter head of the
office.

Mr. Awomolo had intended to prove that the Bromide as published by the Leadership newspaper was forged and therefore did not emanate from the president.

Mr. Bako said when he while investigating the forgery allegation, he approached the Presidency and was given a blank letter head paper from the Office of the President by one Abiye White, an assistant director.

The police officer said he discovered in the course of the investigation that bromide and the Coat of Arm did not tally with the document he got from the Presidency.

Mr. Awomolo, SAN, had also sought to tender a Certified True Copy of the letter head paper which the witness claimed was obtained from the office of the President.

However, Femi Falana, counsel to the journalists, objected to the admissibility of the document. According to him, what Mr. Awomolo sought to tender was a just a blank letter head paper, which did not emanate from the Office of the President, but from the office of the Chief of Staff to the President.

“What they sought to tender is a blank sheet of paper from the office of the Chief of Staff to the President. Since the witness has said that he got a CTC from the office of the Chief of Staff, he cannot
tender it,” Mr. Falana said.

“He cannot seek to tender a letter headed paper from the office of the Chief of Staff because there is dichotomy between the President and the chief of Staff. The document in dispute is from the office of the President and not from the office of the Chief of Staff. I urge the court to reject it in the interest of justice.”

But Mr. Awomolo replied by saying Mr. Falana’s objection was misconceived and a misunderstanding of the law.

He said document came from the officer who had custody of them, stressing, “It is wrong to expect that the President will certify documents by himself.”

Mr. Falana was, however, stopped by the court from replying on point of law though he referred to Section 102 of the Evidence Act to show the court that he has a right of reply.

In his ruling, Mr. Musale declined admitting the said document as exhibit and adjourned the case to January 21, 2015.


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