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Certificate forgery: Court remands Bayelsa senator, Benson Konbowei in prison



Federal Capital Territory High Court in Apo, Abuja, on Thursday, remanded serving Senator Benson Konbowei in the Kuje Correctional Centre.

The Bayelsa Central senator is being tried by the police on three counts bordering on forgery of the National Youth Service Corps exemption certificate.

He was arraigned on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty.

The court on Thursday granted the senator N50m bail but ruled that he should be remanded at the Kuje Correctional Centre pending the perfection of the bail conditions.

In the charged marked: CR/028/2023, the Inspector General of Police accused Konbowei of fraudulently forging a document titled ‘Certificate of Exemption’ with number 000256454 and dated July 4, 2008.

The police said the senator acted contrary to the provisions of sections 366,156 and 158 of the Penal Code Act CAP 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 and was liable to punishment under Section 364 of the same Act.

Upon his arraignment earlier on Tuesday, the senator pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The court allowed him to go home and fixed the hearing of his bail application for Thursday.

At the resumed hearing on Thursday, the prosecution counsel, Rubben Egwaba, vehemently opposed Konbowei’s bail application.

Egwaba said the prosecution was concerned that if released on bail, the senator would interfere with his trial.

“When the charge was filed, the defendant took several steps to interfere with the matter. He also wrote a lot of petitions against me to truncate the matter. We urge my lord to refuse the application,” the prosecutor said.

However, Konbowei’s lawyer, Gordy Uche ( SAN), urged the court to grant his client bail, assuring the court he would not jump bail.

Justice Christopher Oba, in his ruling, said, “The law is settled that bail is the discretion of the court. Taking a look at the matter it is not a capital offence.”

He, therefore, granted the senator N50m bail with two sureties in like sum.

The judge said the sureties must own landed properties with Certificates of Occupancy in the Federal Capital Territory.

The judge, however, ordered that the senator be remanded in the Kuje Correctional Centre pending the perfection of his bail conditions.

He declined an oral application by the defendant’s lawyer to write an undertaken to produce the senator in court till he perfects his bail.

The judge subsequently adjourned the matter till June 24, 25 and 27 for hearing.

As of the time of filing this report, the senator had yet to meet the bail conditions.

Earlier at the resumed trial, a former senator, Moses Cleopas, while being led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, admitted to writing the defendant’s primary school and discovering some inconsistency in his certificate.

Egwaba sought to tender the letter and the response as exhibits, but the defendant’s lawyer objected.

Source: The Punch





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