Court delaying Senate forgery case, say Police

The Police have explained why they have not prosecuted those indicted in their report on the investigation into the alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Rule 2015.

They attributed the failure to prosecute the Senate forgery case to a civil suit by a group seeking an injunction to stop the matter in court.

The police stated that the group had approached the court to stop further investigation into the case, thus stalling actions on the report.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Olabisi Kolawole, explained that the police were waiting for the court’s decision on the case.

Kolawole was asked to explain what was delaying the prosecution of the Senate forgery case and its status.

She said, “Police investigations are ongoing on the matter. However, there is a civil case in court by some group to seek an injunction to resist the police on further investigation. Police are waiting for court’s decision on the case.”

Kolawole was apparently referring to a preliminary objection against the police case filed by the Enugu East senator in the National Assembly, Mr. Gilbert Nnaji, asking the Federal High Court in Abuja to restrain the police and the Attorney-General of the Federation from taking further steps on the investigation of alleged forgery in the Senate’s rules.

Nnaji, through his counsel, Mr. P. J. Nwokolo, had urged Justice Gabriel Kolawole to, among others, restrain further investigation of the allegation in a suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/646/15, which was filed before the release and sending of the police report to the AGF’s office for further action.

The police investigation had indicated that a forged 2015 edition of the Senate Standing Orders was used for the conduct of the elections of Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, as Senate President and Deputy Senate President respectively, shortly after the proclamation of the 8th Senate on June 9, 2015.

The forgery investigation arose from a petition by Senator Sulaiman Hunkuyi of the All Progressives Congress from Kaduna State.

The petitioner had alleged that some parts of the 2015 Senate Orders were different from the one ratified by the 6th Senate in 2010, which was used by the 7th Senate, as Standing Orders 2011.

The police, in the course of their investigation, had on July 6 questioned some members of the 7th and the 8th Senates as well as some management employees of the Senate, including the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa.

A study of the controversial 2015 Senate Standing Orders, Rule 3, as contained on page four of the document, which has to do with the election of presiding officers, showed that it was different from the 2011 Senate Standing Orders.

Rules 3(e) (i) and (ii) had been included in the 2015 document to accommodate electronic voting and secret ballot, whereas secret ballot and ballot papers were not specifically mentioned in the 2011 Standing Orders.

The PUNCH had exclusively reported on August 19 that there was a confusion over the final report of the police investigation into the alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Order with conflicting claims by both the police and the justice ministry on the status of the report.

While the police insisted that they had sent the report to the Ministry of Justice for possible prosecution of suspects, the ministry official said the report had not been received.

A source however had confided in The PUNCH that the police had yet to return the report to the ministry.

The police had sent an initial report to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation for proper legal advice but the AGF office had sent the report back to the police, asking them to conduct a better investigation into the allegation.

In the initial report, the police confirmed that “some group of senators” criminally amended the Senate Standing Orders 2011 to produce the 2015 edition.

But the Directorate of Public Prosecutions of the Federal Ministry of Justice had sought for more information on the senators that allegedly amended the document.

Copyright PUNCH.

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