Alex Enumah in Abuja
Three court officials in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been recommended for dismissal for allegedly manipulating court documents that led to the delivery of a judgment ordering the removal of Senator Ifeanyi Ubah as senator representing Anambra South senatorial district at the National Assembly.
Both the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division and the Supreme Court in their separate judgments had since set aside the judgment of the High Court and upheld the election of Ubah as a senator.
Ubah, who had suspected foul play over the way and manner a suit was filed against his election at an Abuja High Court, to the extent that the benefactor of the judgment was a party that did not initiate the legal action but only sought to be joined midway, petitioned some court officials to the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court.
Following receipt of the petition, the Chief Judge, Justice Ishaq Bello, constituted a seven-man panel headed by the Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR) of the FCT High Court, Mr. Madugu Alhaji to investigate the complaint by Senator Ubah against the officials.
The panel after its investigation and careful analysis of evidence adduced as well as tendered exhibits came to the conclusion that, “The entire suit contracted in CV/3044/18 was a fraud and does not exist in FCT High Court record”.
The report of the panel, sighted by THISDAY, after establishing a case of culpability against six staff of the Abuja High Court recommended the sack of three over act of serious misconduct and the remaining for demotion over act of misconduct.
However, the committee exonerated the seventh official from the allegations against him.
The affected staff whose names are withheld, are from between grade level 6 to grade level 14.
They were found guilty of forgery and mutilation of court documents that led to the illegal sack of Ubah in January this year.
Justice Bello Kawu had on April 11, 2019, in a suit filed by one Anani Chuka nullified Ubah’s election on the premise that he allegedly used a forged National Examination Council (NECO), certificate to contest the senatorial election that brought him into office as senator.
Justice Kawu on January 17, 2020, further upheld his judgment in a ruling on Ubah’s application seeking to set aside his sack order on the grounds that the application lacked merit.
The court after sacking Ubah ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return it issued to Ubah and issue a fresh one to Dr. Obinna Uzoh of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who came 2nd at the election.
But the panel in the report said it discovered that the suit on which the judge based his judgment to sack Ubah was never in existence in the first place.
“The purported suit was not signed by the CJ and not found on any High Court register except the mutilated register in the Process Unit.
“The CJ signature on the assignment directive was forged and dates on the receipt of payment, processes were all altered to October 2018 to make the purported suit filed on September 2019 look like a pre-election matter.
“Out of six receipts cross checked by the Head of Revenue, four were used in the suit not allocated to FCT High Court, meaning that they were used to perpetrate fraud”, the report read, adding that, “Some staff of the FCT High Court were part of the fraud.
The committee however recommended other measures be put in place to prevent fraud and manipulation of court documents.