By Peter Okutu
THE Chief Whip of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Chike Imo Ogiji, was on Friday arraigned by the Police at a Magistrate Court sitting in Abakaliki over alleged certificate forgery.
He was arraigned on a 4-count charge of swearing false affidavit on his First School Leaving Certificate, forging an entry schedule mark sheet and state exams for Community Primary School, Uduku Ettam Okpuituma in Ikwo local government area of the state, altering an affidavit sworn to at the Ebonyi State High Court Abakaliki Judicial Division and forging Primary School testimonial of Uduku Community primary school in Ikwo LGA of the State.
According to court records, the count one of the charge read; ‘That you Ogiji Imo Chike ‘m’, on the 10th day of November, 2006 at the Abakaliki in the Magisterial district of this court did unknowingly swear false affidavit touching on a first school leaving certificate purportedly issued to you in the year 1984 by Community Primary School Uduku Ettam Okpuiumo in Ikwo Local Government area, Ebonyi state and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 118 of the Criminal Code Act, cap C38 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as applicable in Ebonyi”.
“Count two-Ogiji Imo Chike m, between 2007 and 2015 at Abakaliki Magistrate district of this court did forge an entry schedule mark sheet and state Exams for Community primary School Uduku Ettam okpuitumo in Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi state in the year 1986 with intent that it may be used or acted upon as genuine and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 465 and punishable under section 467 of the criminal code act, cap C38 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as applicable in Ebonyi State of Nigeria”,
Furthermore, in Count three Mr Ogiji was accused of altering “an affidavit sworn to at the law court and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 465 and punishable under section 467 of the criminal code cap C38 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as applicable in Ebonyi state of Nigeria”.
In count four, the lawmaker was accused of forging “primary School Testimonial of Uduku Community primary school, Ikwo local government area dated 27th July, 2015 with intent that it may be used or acted upon as genuine and punishable under section 467 of the criminal code act, cap C38 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as applicable in Ebonyi state of Nigeria”.
After the charges were read to his understanding, Ogiji entered a not guilty plea to the charges.
His Defence Counsel, Emeka Odom who urged the court to grant him bail argued that the lawmaker was presumed innocent at this stage until proven guilty.
“The fundamental issue in this application for bail is to ensure that he is available to face trial. We urge this court to grant him bail on self recognition. He is a person of repute and he is representing Ikwo South state constituency in the state House of Assembly, he is also the Chief Whip of the Assembly”, Mr Emeka added. The accused is enjoying police administrative bail”.
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