A House of Representative member from Kwara state, Ahmed Abubakar Ndakene, was on Wednesday brought before an Abuja Area Court in Karmo over allegation of certificate forgery. Ndakene, who was not arraigned on Wednesday, was however admitted to bail in the sum of N5million.
The representative of Edu/Moro/Patigi constituency of Kwara state at the green chamber was brought before the court in direct criminal complaint on the alleged criminal breach of section 88(1), 89(3) and 109c of the Administrative Criminal Justice Act ( ACJA) 2015. The nominal complainant, Mahmud Hassan Babako, a candidate of the People’s Democratic Party ( PDP) in the election that Ndakene emerged as the winner, under the All Progressive Congress ( APC), alleged that he (Ndakene) forged his certificates.
Babako also alleged that the said forged document was presented to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the form he used to contest for the election. He equally alleged that the defendant deposed on oath to facts which were not true and his occupying the seat of his constituency was based on false information and forged documents.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, the complainant’s counsel, Labio Orji prayed the court to allow Ndakene to enter the dock to take his plea. However, Alex Edim, counsel to Ndakene, opposed the application and predicated his objection on Section 89 (5) of the ACJA, 2015. In the stated section according to Edim, the court is conferred with the power to refer any matter before it to the police for investigation before any further action can be taken. “All complaints made directly to the court may be referred to the police for investigation before any action can be taken. “Sections 106 and 89 of the Act did not give any private individual any right to prosecute or commence criminal proceedings or matter before following the due process or seeking for approval and fiat of the Attorney General,” he added. He, therefore, urged the court to use its discretion and for the interest of justice to allow the police to investigate the matter and by doing so the case would not be prejudiced. The judge, Inuwa Maiwada, after listening to the submissions of both counsel pointed out that the Sections quoted did not specify that only the police could investigate a matter but any security operative agency. Maiwada also said the law stipulated that where an issue cropped up before an arraignment, the defendant will remain in the custody of the court. The judge, however, said due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to decongest the correctional facility he will grant the defendant bail. He, therefore, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N5 million with one reasonable surety in like sum. The judge said a financial standing for the bond must be entered for the surety and that the surety must reside within the court’s jurisdiction which must be verified by the court officials. The judge thereafter adjourned the matter to June 11 for ruling on whether or not to refer the matter to the security agency for further investigation.