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Court adjourns INEC’s case against Uduk for lack of witness’ statement

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Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo, yesterday, adjourned the case between Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Prof. Ignatius Uduk, who is prosecuted for alleged electoral fraud.

The Court presided over by Justice Archibong Archibong, said the adjournment became necessary, as prosecution counsel to INEC did not include his witness’ statement.

Uduk, who was the Returning Officer at Essien was said to have allegedly declared and published false election results during the 2019 State House of Assembly elections.

He was arraigned under charge No: HU/240c/2020 on three count charge bordering on abandonment of duty and generation of false scores on form EC BE II on March 10, 2019 at INEC office in Afaha Ikot Ebak during the State House of Assembly elections.

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He was accused of announcing and publishing false election result and lying on oath at the inception of the election petition tribunal, for which he pleaded not guilty.

Speaking with his defence counsel shortly after the adjournment, Abasiodiong Ekpenyong said, INEC came to the court unprepared, which the presiding judge duly observed.

Ekpenyong, who accused INEC of always coming to court unprepared, said his client was innocent of all charges until proven otherwise.

But prosecution counsel to INEC, Kpoobari Sigalo, explained the charges against the accused needed minor amendment and in the process of the amendment, the team discovered that the witness’ written statement was missing.

“We came today for hearing of the matter. We actually filed our charge before the court, but looking at the charges, we discovered that there was need for minor amendment of the charge.

“And in the process, we discovered that the written statement of the witness was not in the charge, so have to go back and put our house together in preparation of the fixed date,” he said insisting that the INEC team came prepared, as the witness was in court.

Having heard both sides, Justice Archibong adjourned the case to January 13 and 14, 2021 for further hearing.

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