Abia lawmaker docked for allegedly forging law degree certificate, others

The Abia State legislator allegedly falsely declared himself a legal practitioner to INEC.

A member of the Abia State House of Assembly, Ikedi Ezekwesiri, has been brought before an Umuahia Magistrates’ Court for alleged perjury.

Mr. Ezekwesiri, who represents Umunneochi Constituency, was arraigned on Monday on a five- count charge of impersonation, forgery and false information.

The lawmaker was alleged to have on January 31, 2011, in the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Form C.F 001 preparatory for election into the state assembly, falsely declared himself to be a legal practitioner.

The offence, according to the prosecution, is punishable under the Criminal Code Cap 38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

He was also alleged to have, on the same date in a judicial proceeding in the high court registry before the commissioner for oaths, given false testimony contrary to and punishable under the Criminal Code Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

The prosecution said the false testimony was to enable him contest for a seat in the state assembly elections, adding that the act was contrary to the Criminal Code and punishable.

Mr. Ezekwesiri was also alleged to have fraudulently altered and mutilated the INEC Form CF 001 during investigation by the police by inserting the word ‘business man’ instead of ‘legal practitioner’ as earlier professed and presented to the police.

He was alleged to have fraudulently presented to INEC and the police during investigation, a B. Sc in Law certificate bearing Eze Ikedichi awarded with an honour in the Third Class degree by the Abia State University.

The accused person pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The defence counsel, Okey Amechi, who appeared with 10 other lawyers, applied for the bail of the accused on self-recognition as a serving legislator.

“This is a political issue and he will not jump bail which is the major reason for granting bail,” Mr. Amechi said.

The prosecution counsel, Sampson Onyemuche, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, who appeared with Godwin Ijioma (DSP), said the prosecution was not objecting to the bail application.

“However, our objection will be on granting the accused bail on self-recognition. This is a criminal trial and we expect him to be given bail with a reasonable sum and surety,” he said.

In her ruling, the Chief Magistrate, Elizabeth Kalu, granted the accused bail on self-recognition and adjourned the case to July 17 for further hearing.


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