Alleged NYSC certificate forgery: Senator ordered remanded in prison until he meets bail conditions

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on Thursday admitted Senator Benson Konbowei (PDP Bayelsa) to bail in the sum of N50 million.

The representative of Bayelsa Central Senatorial District was arraigned on a three court charge by the Nigeria Police.

It bordered on the alleged forging of a National Youth Service Corps exemption certificate among others.

The counsel for the police, Reuben Egwaba, had opposed the bail application for the defendant.

He alleged that the defendant would interfere with his trial if granted bail.

Egwaba said: “While 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 counsel for the defendant, Gordy Uche (SAN), urged the court to grant his client bail, assuring the court he would not jump bail if granted one.

Ruling on the bail application, the trial judge, Justice Christopher Oba, said the defendant must provide two sureties in the like sum who must have landed properties in the Federal Capital Territory.

Oba said the Certificate of Ownership of the sureties must be confirmed to be authentic.

He ordered that the senator be remanded in Kuje correctional facility pending the perfection of his bail conditions.

He said: “The law is settled that bail is at the discretion of the court. 

“Taking a look at the matter, it is not a capital offence.”

The judge then declined an oral application moved by the defendant’s lawyer to write an undertaking to produce the senator in court till he perfects his bail.

He subsequently adjourned the matter until June 24, 2024 for hearing.

Earlier, former Senator Moses Cleopas, while being led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, admitted to writing the defendant’s primary school and discovering some inconsistencies in his certificate.

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

Uche said: “This document is not relevant to the charges preferred against the defendant. 

“Count one deals with fraudulent forgery of the exemption certificate.

“There was nowhere his first school leaving certificate was mentioned. 

“Sections 4, 5 7, and 9 of the Evidence Act have settled this. 

“Also, these documents were not signed and not dated.

“An unsigned document is worthless in law. 

“It doesn’t pass the test of admissibility. 

“It also has no name of the officer who signed it.

“It contains no evidence that any money was paid to get the certified copies of the documents.”

But Egwaba said the documents set to be tendered were a response to a letter the former senator wrote.

He said: “There are original copies of a letter addressed to Moses, a private individual. 

“A letter issued from a public office to an individual cannot be certified. 

“A photocopy can be tendered if the foundation is laid for it.

“Attached to the letter were private documents. 

“It does not need to be certified. 

“Count three is relevant to the document we seek to tender. 

“He lied on oath to INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission).

“Also, the primary school certificate was front loaded in their process and also included in their proof of evidence. 

“We will amend our charges. 

“This document shows that he is a serial forger.”

The trial judge overruled Uche and admitted the documents as exhibits.

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