An Abia State Magistrate’s Court sitting in Umuahia has convicted a former Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development,Dr Uche Ogah, for forgery.
In a suit filed by Abia State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the former minister was accused of fabricating the party’s direct primary result sheet “with intent that it may be acted on as genuine,” despite not participating in the May 26, 2022 governorship primary.
The plaintiff (APC) submitted that Ogah’s “falsification” was detrimental to the party and Ikechi Emenike, whom the party recognises as its “authentic governorship flagbearer.”
The offence, according to Abia APC, is in contravention of section 465 of the Criminal Code (as it applies in Abia) and punishable under section 467.
Delivering judgement on Thursday, the presidining magistrate, Ngozi Nwangwa, held that the defendant/respondent “is guilty as charged.”
“I’m convinced that the defendant has no defence.I hereby commit Dr Uche Ogah for the offence as charged,” Nwangwa said.
The defendant was not present in court, so the magistrate ordered security agencies to arrest him wherever he may be and hold him in any correctional facility until the day he is brought to court for sentencing.
Ogah had failed to appear before the court since November when the matter came up for hearing and he also did not have a legal representative.
The magistrate, however, said the former minister had written a petition to the chief judge and the attorney-general alleging “bias and compromise.”
The APC had called Chidi Avajah, state secretary of the party in Abia State as its sole witness on November 30.
They also tendered as exhibits, affidavits deposed to by Tony Obiefuna, a representive of the APC governorship primary election panel for Abia State, and one Chukwudi Kanu, stating that their signatures were forged by Ogah.
Since the respondent failed to open his defence on the charges against him, the prosecution, after making its submission, closed its case and urged the court “to accept the documentary evidence, rely on them and act on them.”
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court in Abuja had on November 11, nullified the primary which produced Emenike and affirmed Ogah as the Abia APC governorship candidate.