Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Court Foils PDP Attempt to Stop Forensic Reports on their alleged Rigged Victory

Election Petition tribunal sitting at Calabar, Cross River State capital has foiled the attempts made by two Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers to stop them from accepting two forensic reports on their elections.

This was as a result of the Labour Party candidate for the Cross River-South senatorial district and the House of Representatives candidate for Akpabuyo, Bakassi and Calabar-South constituency, Senator Bassey Otu and Mr. Dominic Edem, respectively, challenging the victory of their PDP counterparts, Senator Gershom Bassey and Mr. Essien Ayi, at the tribunal. recalled that the tribunal had, on July 7, ruled that a foren[post_ad]
sic expert be called to examine election materials presented by the Independent National Electoral Commission, but the lead counsel for the respondents, Mr. Paul Erokoro, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, tried to stop the tribunal from admitting the forensic reports.
Erokoro, while opposing the admissibility of the forensic report due to what he regarded as non-compliance with the provisions of the Evidence Act, argued that the section in reference accepted a computer document, and the reports could only be admitted if they satisfied the laid down rules and procedures as provided by the Act.
But counsel for INEC, Mr. Eni Okoi, refused to raise any objection to the admissibility of the exhibit.
The petitioners counsel, Mr. Essien Andrew, in a rejoinder, has insisted that the exhibit was not a computer document but a forensic report obtained as earlier authorised by the tribunal and duly signed by the witness.
However, the tribunal, in its ruling delivered by the chairman, Justice Christopher Awubra, stated, “It is our view that having listened to the submission of the learned SAN and the rejoinder by the petitioners’ counsel, the report is not computer generated but a forensic report.
“The certificate of fitness endorsed by the INEC at the conclusion of the report further confirmed that the machine used to conduct the analysis was appropriate hence, it is intended to confirm the genuineness or otherwise of the votes cast at the disputed poll.”
Counsel for the respondents was, thereafter, granted three days to scrutinise the 600- page forensic report and the 985-page report for that of the House of Representatives, as we adjourned to August 6, 2015.



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