A Plateau lawmaker, Mr Ibrahim Baba-Hassan (APC) has begged the Jos Federal High Court II to dismiss all criminal charges of forgery against him by the Attorney General of the Federation.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami had filed eight court charges against Baba-Hassan representing Jos North in the Plateau State House of Assembly for forging a Diploma certificate of University of Jos in 1996 and presented same to INEC for purposes of vying for political offices/elections.
Malami said that haven forged the certificate for Diploma in Business Administration, the lawmaker had contravened sections 465, 117, 191 and 192 of criminal Code Act Cap C. 38 and section 1(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Act Cap M17 law of the federation of Nigeria 2004 respectively.
When the case came for hearing before the Presiding Judge, Justice Musa Kurya, Baba-Hassan’s Counsel , N.D. Gwaison, asked the court to dismiss the case on the ground that the attorney general had shown that he had no interest in the case.
The defence counsel had accused the prosecution counsel, Mr Una Matthew-Udo of refusing to appear in court and sending any message explaining reasons for his absence in court at their last sitting on Feb. 22, 2018.
“My Lord, this matter was adjourned to today for the prosecution to respond to our application that the charges preferred against our client (Baba-Hassan) be struck out and that the defendant be discharged in pursuance to section 351 of the criminal code.
“The prosecution counsel was not in court last time and there was no reason given before this hounourable court to explain his absence in court, ’’ the defence counsel submitted.
Gwaison then applied to the court to dismiss the case and discharge his client in accordance with the law he cited because the prosecution has failed in its duty to show commitment to the case in the first place.
But Matthew-Odu objected to the application, which he described as “ill conceived’’ and “in affective’’ and asked the court to disregard the application.
He said, section 351 (1)(c) of the administration of Criminal Justice was only applicable or relevant to or when the case was being mentioned for the first time and not when the accused has already taken his plea.
“My Lord, in this matter, the accused has taken his plea as he pleaded not guilty to all the eight court charges labeled against him.
“More over, the section talks about when the complainant or nominal complainant refuses to appear in person, in this case the complainant has always being in court and is still in court even now.
“In any case, this case has gone beyond this section 351 and we hereby asked the court to disregard the defence counsel’s application and dismiss it for this case to continue without any delay, ’’ he applied.
Gwaison in further response said, “section 351 talks about non appearance generally, both the complainant and nominal complainant, therefore the submission that the nominal complainant was in court was a no moment.’’
“even as we talk sir, there is no reason or any material to show before your Lordship why the prosecution was not in court last time.’’
“I submit here that the only option left for this court is to strike out the case and discharge the accused; this court is for serious business and nobody should take it for granted, ’’ the defence counsel argued.
After listening to the arguments of both counsels, Justice Kurya adjourned the case to April 13, 2018 for ruling.