45 days after tribunal verdict, the Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, Ondo State has queried the source of the ‘Supplementary Record of Appeal’ presented by the lawmaker representing Obokun Constituency, Adeyemi Adewumi.
In the supplementary record of appeal purportedly certified by the registrar of the election tribunal in Osogbo and transmitted with a sworn affidavit by lawmaker of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The election that brought in the lawmaker of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Obokun State Constituency was challenged at the tribunal by the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) allegeding that it was fraught with irregularities.
According to reports, the tribunal, presided over by Justice Ita Enyom, nullified the purported election of Adewumi, holding that the petitioner had established over-voting in the result of the election, particularly in four wards.
The PDP candidate then filed an appeal against the judgment of the lower tribunal.
At the hearing of the appeal on Tuesday, counsel to the APC candidate, Yinka Okedara, called the attention of the court to the record titled: “Supplementary Record of Appeal,” saying the document contained false information.
He alleged that the document was fraudulently generated and presented as the true record of the court to impugn on the integrity of the judges of the tribunal.
One of such false information, he said, was where the record stated that only the chairman of the tribunal sat throughout the proceedings, contrary to the fact that all the three members of the panel were present throughout, except once during the pre-hearing, when only one judge was absent.
Upon assessment of the document, the Appeal Panel Chairman, Justice Olabisi Omoleye, requested to know the source of the document because he supervised the tribunal judges and found that they were all present in the course of the assignment.
In defence, counsel to the appellant, Edmund Biriomoni, said he paid for the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the document, saying he was not aware that the certification did not have the signature of the registrar and his own.
“My Lord, I’m sorry, I didn’t know that the document was not properly done. I have filed the record before I realised it,” he said.
But the panel chairman said he was worried about what transpired, saying, “This is strange and must be looked into by the judiciary.
Justice Omoleye said: “As if we are in a jungle, the reality is that I was the supervisor of that tribunal and they were all present when I visited. Where then did this document come from?”
“Appellant’s counsel, you are a lawyer. Is this document really genuine? Was it properly certified? No signature, no date but just stamp, which is even different from the one used on the record transmitted to us by the registrar of the tribunal himself.”
The appellant’s counsel then apologised and offered to withdraw the record already filed before the court.
The APC counsel, Okedara, then informed the court that he had spent so much in getting the correct record and affidavit from the lower tribunal chairman, asking for a cost of N500,000 to cater for the expenses incurred.
Biriomoni offered to pay a cost of N20,000 to cater for the expenses of the respondents.
The panel chairman then struck out the purported ‘Supplementary Record’ and the subsequent motion filed to challenge it, awarding a cost of N400,000 against the appellant.
Both the appellant and the respondents, through their counsels, then adopted their briefs of argument on the appeal and the tribunal reserved judgment till further date, which would be communicated to the parties.