The Chief Whip of Ebonyi House of Assembly, Chike Ogiji, on Friday appeared before an Abakaliki Magistrate court on a four count charge of certificate forgery.
The Prosecution Counsel, Peter Amadi, told the court that Ogiji, on Nov.10, 2006 at Abakaliki in the court’s magisterial district, knowingly swore false affidavit of a First School Leaving Certificate.
Amadi disclosed that the certificate was purportedly issued to Ogiji in 1984 by the Community Primary School, Uduku-Ettam Okpuitom, in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi.
He said: “The crime is punishable under section 118 of the Criminal code.
“The accused between 2007 and 2015 at Abakaliki, forged an entry schedule mark sheet and state examination bearing the same primary school for the year 1986 with the intent that it may be used or acted upon as genuine.
“Ogiji also on Nov.10, 2006, altered a sworn affidavit sworn at the Ebonyi State High Court, Abakaliki judicial division; committing an offence contrary to section 465 and punishable under section 467 of the criminal code cap 38 as applicable to Ebonyi.”
Ogiji, who is a three-time member of the House, pleaded not guilty to the charges as his defence counsel, Emeka Odom, made a bail application on his behalf.
He said: “My client is an honourable member of the state House of Assembly and I pray this court to grant him bail on self-recognition due to his status.
“He has honoured several police invitations on the matter and this suggests that he will not evade bail if granted by this court.”
Amadi, however objected the bail application for the accused, noting that the defence counsel did not adequately assure the court that his client will not evade bail.
He said: “I would accept the court’s discretion on the bail application but I pray that it should not be on self-recognition if granted because we are skeptical that he would not evade bail.”
The Presiding Magistrate, Stella Oguoke, in her ruling, granted the accused person bail in the sum of N20, 000 with one surety in like sum.
Oguoke said: “The surety should be a civil servant residing within the court’s magisterial district and should submit his identity card to the court clerk.
“The prosecuting counsel should also submit evidence of the charges to the defence counsel to assist him in preparation for the case.”
Uguoke further adjourned the case to June 11 for hearing.