A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu state, Hon. Chukwuemeka Aneke, has accused some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of forgery of the commission’s monitoring report of the Labour Party primary of Enugu West Senatorial District held on June 8, 2022.
In a petition dated November 10 and written by his solicitors, Bonaventure Madu and Tobechukwu Enem, the petitioner is specifically asking the electoral umpire to investigate the alleged forgery with a view to punishing the perpetrators.
In the letter addressed to INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmoud, it was disclosed that the alleged forgery was discovered following discrepancies in a Certified True Copy (CTC) obtained from INEC and documents INEC submitted to court in defense of the LP senatorial election cases.
According to the businessman, upon their request, INEC had, on July 22, issued them a copy of its Monitoring Report for the Enugu West Senatorial District primary held on June 8, 2022.
The petitioner said that during court proceedings on November 7, in the suit No. FHC/AB3/CS/1194/2022, at a Federal High Court in Abuja, “INEC attached and exhibited a totally different and doctored report, dated September 9, and certified by one Ahmed Goni.”
In view of the above discrepancies between the two INEC reports, Hon. Aneke therefore demanded that INEC immediately withdraw the forged document from court within one week and prosecute officials of the commission involved in the criminal act.
His lawyers warned that if INEC fails to withdraw the forged monitoring report and commence the prosecution of the officials involved, they will have no option but to press a criminal charge against the said officials and the commission and follow it up with a civil suit.
The letter read in part: “Curiously, during the court proceedings on November 7, 2022, in the said suit no. FHC/AB3/CS/1194/2022 at the Federal High Court, Abuja, your commission attached and exhibited a totally different and doctored INEC report of the Labour Party Senatorial Districts of Enugu State, dated September 9, 2022, and certified by one Ahmed Goni,” and was tendered by Alhaji Abdulaziz Sani, the lawyers said.
According to the letter, while the forged report bears only one sub-item, which is the summary of the Enugu East Senatorial District Primary, the genuine INEC Monitoring Report bears the report of the three Senatorial District Primaries of Enugu state.
“The forged INEC report did not bear the INEC field teams’ report made by the monitoring team leader, Ezeabasill Kene, the Electoral officer of Ezeagu Local Government to the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Enugu state, indicating what actually happened at the venue of the primary election, which report is attached to Annexure 2 and is our genuine INEC Monitoring Report.”
In a related development, one of the defendants in the suit, Dr. Evans Okwor, has also petitioned the Inspector General of Police on the matter.
In the petition dated November 24 and written by his counsel, Tony Agu, the petitioner lamented that the forgery by INEC staff has put his name and integrity into serious question and disrepute, as it could be the subject of litigation in the future.
He accordingly pleaded with the IGP to prosecute those involved.
The petition reads: “We are solicitors to Dr Evans Okwor of 29 Enugu Road, Ninth Mile Corner, Ngwo, Enugu State, herein referred to as our client, on whose behalf and instruction we hereby write.
‘The subject matter above refers It is our understanding that INEC was invited to the Labour Party senatorial primaries on the 8th day of June, 2022; consequently, INEC deployed her staff to monitor and observe the primaries in the three senatorial zones of Enugu State.
“However, the primaries were held in two (Enugu East and Enugu North) of the three zones. Reports were written in line with the observations and signed by the HOD of EPM, Mrs. Ginika Uche-Nwankwor. The said report was sent to the Resident Electoral Commissioner, who also signed off and sent it to the headquarters.
“Our client applied and was given a certified true copy on July 2, 2022. Recently, a lawyer, Bona Madu, Esq., wrote to the Resident Electoral Commissioner for authentication of the two certified true copies of our client’s report on the primary of June 8, 2022 (please see annexure).
‘Our client’s attention was called to the situation, and on close observation, the HOD of EPM INEC Enugu office noticed that the CTC of July 20, 2022 was correct while that of September 5, 2022, certified by one Ahmed Goni, was forged, though purportedly bearing a forged signature of the HOD of EMP’s signature.”