Mr. Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla, the former Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), has been charged with certificate forgery by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The Commission maintained its claims in a two-count complaint filed at the Jos Judicial Division of the High Court of Plateau State that the former SPIP head presented a bogus result with a credit pass in English Literature to the University of Jos, with which he gained admission to study law.
While Obono-Obla did not sit for the Ordinary Level, General Certificate Examination (GCE) in English Literature in 1982, he presented a result of the same GCE to the University of Jos in 1985, containing Credit 6 from Mary Knoll College, Ogoja, according to the charge filed before Justice C. L. Dabup.
He was accused of breaking Section 366 of the Plateau State Penal Code, which is punishable by death.
When the charges were read to him, Obono-Obla entered a not guilty plea to each of the two counts, and his lawyer, M.A. Agara, filed an application asking the court to grant him bail on his own recognizance.
Agara had earlier filed a motion contesting the jurisdiction of the court on the matter as well as accused the prosecution of bringing a defective charge before the court and prayed the court not to allow the charge to be read to the defendant.
ICPC’s lead Counsel, Henry Emore, who opposed the motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court, submitted that the defendant was brought before the court because the offense of certificate forgery was allegedly committed in Jos where the court sits.
He however did not oppose the bail application, but urged the court to admit him to bail on stringent terms.
Justice Dabup, in her ruling on the bail application, admitted Obono-Obla to bail in the sum of N1 million with one surety in like sum. She further ruled that the surety must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court and must submit an affidavit of means including a tax clearance certificate showing evidence of payment for three years. The case has been adjourned to 25th November, 2021 for trial.