A member of the House of Representatives from Kwara State, Ahmed Abubakar Ndakene, was on Wednesday brought before an Abuja Area Court sitting in Karmo for alleged certificate forgery.
But Ndakene, who was not arraigned was admitted to bail in the sum of N5million.
The lawmaker representing Edu/Moro/Patigi constituency of Kwara State was brought before the court in direct criminal complaint over alleged criminal breach of Section 88(1), 89(3) and 109c of the Administrative Criminal Justice Act ( ACJA) 2015.
The nominal complainant, Mahmud Hassan Babako, who was a candidate of the People’s Democratic Party in the election won by Ndakene under the All Progressive Congress, alleged that the lawmaker forged his certificates.
Babako also alleged that Ndakene presented the said forged document to the Independent National Electoral Commission in the form he filled to contest the election.
The complainant further alleged that the defendant deposed on oath to facts which were not true, adding that his occupying the seat of his constituency was based on false information and forged documents.
At the resumed hearing of the matter, the complainant’s counsel, Labio Orji prayed the court to allow Ndakene to enter the dock to take his plea.
But the lawmaker’s counsel, Alex Edim, opposed the application and hinged his objection on Section 89 (5) of the ACJA, 2015.
In the stated section, according to Edim, the court is conferred with the power to refer any matter before it to the police for investigation before any further action can be taken.
He argued, “All complaints made directly to the court may be referred to the police for investigation before any action can be taken.
“Sections 106 and 89 of the Act did not give any private individual any right to prosecute or commence criminal proceedings or matter before following the due process or seeking for approval and fiat of the Attorney General.”
Ndakene’s counsel, therefore, urged the court to use its discretion and in the interest of justice, allow the police to investigate the matter in order not to prejudice the case.
The judge, Inuwa Maiwada, after listening to the submissions of the two counsel, pointed out that the Sections quoted did not specify that only the police could investigate a matter as any security agency could do the same.
Maiwada also said the law stipulated that where an issue cropped up before an arraignment, the defendant will remain in the custody of the court.
The judge, however, said due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to decongest the correctional facility, he would grant the defendant bail.
He, therefore, granted the lawmaker bail in the sum of N5 million with one reasonable surety in like sum.
The judge said a financial standing for the bond must be entered for the surety and that the surety must reside within the court’s jurisdiction and must be verified by the court officials.
The judge thereafter adjourned the matter to June 11 for ruling on whether or not to refer the matter to the security agency for further investigation.