By Wandoo Sombo
The Federal High Court Abuja, has dismissed the alleged certificate forgery case filed by the All Progressives Congress, (APC) and one of its chieftains, Mr Williams Edobor, against Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo.
Delivering judgement in the suit on Saturday, Justice Ahmed Mohammed held that the plaintiffs failed to discharge the burden of proof placed on them, having failed to provide credible evidence to prove their case.
Justice Mohammed said that there was no iota of evidence before the court to prove that Obaseki forged his O’level certificate or the degree certificate awarded to him by the University of Ibadan in 1979.
The judge maintained that the allegation of forgery the APC levelled against Obaseki bordered on crime and such an allegation was required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
“None of the witnesses called by the plaintiffs was able to prove that the certificate was forged.
“In fact, the witnesses admitted that none of them visited the University of Ibadan to confirm the authenticity of the certificate.
“The plaintiffs only relied on photocopies that were attached to the Form EC9 Obaseki submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”
The judge further said that the discrepancies alleged by the APC on the degree certificate in question were adequately explained by the defendants that it happened because the size of the paper of the certificate was bigger than the A4 sized paper used for the photocopy.
The judge also noted that Obaseki called as one of his witnesses, a deputy registrar, legal of the University of Ibadan who identified the original certificate issued to Obaseki by the university in 1979 as authentic.
He said that the witness also tendered the original certificates obtained by the governor from primary school through secondary school to HSC level.
He said that in law, such documents were refered to as direct evidences showing that Obaseki did not forge any certificate.
According to the judge, this case is like that of a stranger claiming that the child has no father whereas the father is saying that this is my child.
The judge therefore held that the APC had failed to prove the allegation that Obaseki forged his primary, secondary and university certificates.
“It is the conclusion of this court that the plaintiffs failed to prove their case and so the plaintiff’s case has failed and is accordingly dismissed,” the judge held.