LEAKED DOCUMENTS: A’Ibom Governor, Umo Eno Allegedly Procures Fake Court Order, Plots With Magistrate To Alter Conviction Records
Barely a week after his swearing-in as Governor of Akwa Ibom State, fresh facts have emerged on how Governor Umo Eno allegedly obtained a fake court order purporting to quash the judgement of an FCT Magistrate court which convicted him for offence of fraud against one Godwin Edet Etim, a former contract staff to Exxon Mobil Producing Nigeria Ltd.
It will be recalled that Pastor Umo Eno had also been enmeshed in a certificate and conviction scandal prior to his election and declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as Governor of Akwa Ibom State on March 19, 2023.
Following his emergence as governor, the major opposition candidates in the state namely Obong Bassey Albert of (YPP) and Obong Akan Udofia of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had proceeded to challenge his victory at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo.
The grounds for their petition bother, inter alia, on Electoral malpractices, certificate forgery and conviction for crime.
Saharareporters had exclusively obtained court documents and CTC copies of judgement showing conclusively that Governor Umo Eno was indeed convicted for the crime on 20th December 2022 and thereby ineligible to contest for Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
His conviction followed extensive trial at the Magistrate Court Abuja as parts of the crimes extended to Abuja, thus leading to criminal summon against Governor Eno, his arraignment, trial and conviction by Magistrate Mr. Emmanuel Iyana pursuant to Section 325 of the Penal Code law.
Faced with his conviction, on the 9th day of January, 2023, the legal team of Umo Eno filed a Motion on Notice to set aside Issuance of warrant of arrest and filed nothing more.
The hearing was fixed for January 13th, 2023 but surprisingly, the Magistrate, Mr. Emmanuel Iyanna, appeared on the 13th January 2023 to inform parties that he had quashed the conviction on 11th January 2023 without prior hearing, or notice to the parties involved in the case.
It was gathered that the bailiff of the Magistrate court whose name appeared in the purported certificate of service, one Mr. Daniel Ochai had deposed to an affidavit denying the Magistrate and the fraudulent proceedings and records of 11th January 2023.
Both the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court and the Magistrate were accused of trying to frustrate the process by doctoring court records in favour of Umo Eno considering the fact that Chief Judge suspended the hearing of appeals on all criminal cases and dislodged the appeal panel via a directive.
Angered by this action the complainant lawyers wrote a letter demanding that the Appeal panel be reconstituted and the appeal must be heard within seven days.
They also informed the National Judicial Council of the disgraceful and unprofessional conduct of the judges.
The FCT Chief Judge immediately obliged their request and reconstituted another appeal panel with a new Judge, Hon. Justice Belgore presiding and Hon. Justice M. B. Idris assisting.
There was also a leaked plot by aides of former Governor Udom Emmanuel and the FCT Judiciary to frustrate the appeal until after May 29, 2023 so that Umo Emo would be sworn in and consequently assume immunity from further prosecution of all matters relating to his conviction and the fraudulent proceedings that purportedly quashed his criminal conviction.
To this end, Umo Eno’s legal team led by Paul Usoro, SAN, made a request that the matter be adjourned to a distant date. Counsel to the complainants, Ibrahim Idris, SAN urged the court to accelerate hearing and conclude the Appeal before May 29th 2023 in view of section 308 of the 1999 Constitution but Justice Belgore adjourned the matter to June 2nd 2023 after Inauguration.
The case has been further adjourned to June 19th 2023.