Friday, 7 April 2017

Poll bribery: Court rules on INEC officials’ application May 12

Justice John Tsoho of Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday fixed May 12 for ruling in an application filed by 23 officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the suit against them. Justice Tsoho adjourned the matter after listening to arguments from the prosecution and defence counsel. The officials were docked for allegedly receiving N360million from Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, during the December 10, 2016 rerun election in the state. The accused were to enter their plea on March 14 to a seven-count charge of bribery. Counsel to the 1st to 20th defendants, Mr. Ahmed Raji, had in the last sitting, informed the court of the application he filed, questioning the territorial jurisdiction of the court in the matter. The other defence counsel, Mr. Ukpan Ukairo and Mr. E. A. Nwauwa, also filed an application challenging the court’s jurisdiction. At the resumed hearing, Raji observed that the exhibits of the complainant attached to the counter affidavit of the police, were deposed to by one Numa Ganawo Wande, a litigation officer in the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF). He said the exhibits, marked annexures A, B, C and D, were mere photographs of dead police officers and weapons. Raji argued that in accordance with the provisions of Section 84 of the Evidence Act, the exhibits were “inadmissible in law.” He insisted that a litigation officer in the AGF’s office “is not in a better position to depose to what transpired in Port-Harcourt.” NAN

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