Court rejects Jonathan’s letterhead in Leadership journalists’ suit

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A Federal Capital Territory High Court in Kubwa,
on Tuesday rejected a plane letterhead of the
office of President Goodluck Jonathan tendered
by the Federal Government in the forgery suit
instituted against two journalists with the
Leadership newspaper.

The Leadership Group Limited, its Group News
Editor, Mr. Tony Amokeodo, and a senior
correspondent with the newspaper, Chibuzor
Ukaibe, are facing 11 counts of forgery and
conspiracy following the publication of the
bromide of a presidential directive by the
newspaper on April 3, 2013.

At the resumed hearing of the case on
Wednesday, the prosecuting counsel, Chief
Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN), sought to tender
the plane letterhead in his bid to prove the
forgery allegation against the accused.

But Justice Usman Musale rejected the
document, upholding the contention of the
defence counsel, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), who
had argued that the exhibit was not admissible
since it was certified by the Office of the Chief
of Staff to the President instead of the office of
the President itself.

Falana said, “What they sought to tender is a
blank sheet of paper from the Office of the
Chief of Staff to the President.

Since the witness has said that he got a certified true
copy from the Office of the Chief of Staff, he cannot tender it.

“He cannot seek to tender a letterhead paper
from the Office of the Chief of Staff because
there is dichotomy between the President and
the Chief of Staff. The document in dispute is
from the Office of the President and not from
the office of the Chief of Staff. I urge the court
to reject it in the interest of justice.”

Awomolo had sought to tender the document
through a prosecution witness in the case, Mr.
Ibrahim Bako, a police officer.

Bako had testified that the police received
complaint about the case and that in the course
of the investigation he went to the Presidency
and met an assistant director, Abiye White, who
gave him a blank letterhead paper from the
office of the President.

He concluded that the published letter could not
have emanated from the Presidency.

Bako added that the investigation revealed that
the bromide and the Coat of Arms in the
publication did not tally with the document he
obtained from the Presidency.

At that point, Awomolo sought to tender a
certified true copy of the letterhead paper which
the witness said was obtained from the office
of the President.

In response to Falana’s objection, Awomolo said
it was misconceived.
He further argued that the document was from
the officer who had custody of it.

“It is wrong to expect that the President will
certify documents by himself,” Awomolo said.

But Justice Musale in his ruling rejected the
document, saying that it could not be admitted
as exhibit against the accused person.
The case has been adjourned to January 21,
2014.
Source :punchng.com

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