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Court clears Abia rep of alleged certificate forgery

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Benjamin Kalu

A High Court, sitting in Umuahia, Abia State, yesterday, cleared the spokesman of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, of alleged certificate forgery.

Delivering judgment on the suit (HU/265/2020) filed by Mr. Okechukwu Ezeala, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bende Federal Constituency, Abia State, Justice O. A. Chijioke held that the claimant “failed” to prove his allegation beyond reasonable doubt.

Ezeala had filed the suit alongside Chima Anyaso, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who lost in the last election.

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The judge agreed with all the arguments of Kalu’s lead counsel, K. C. Nwufor, affirming: “The matter is a pre-election matter and therefore statute-barred and frivolous. Benjamin Kalu fully complied with the law in his change of name. The claimant failed to differentiate or prove his claims of forgery and impersonation against Benjamin Kalu.”

The court also agreed with Nwufor that the claimant ought to have produced the original bearer of the name, which Kalu alleged was impersonated.

Ezeala had challenged the authenticity of the primary and secondary schools certificates Kalu presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which qualified him (Kalu) to contest the 2019 election.

Ezeala had asked the court to scrutinise the certificates, which he claimed were not earned by Kalu because they bore different names. He also prayed the court to declare Kalu unqualified to contest the election if it found the certificates had been forged.

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