By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammad Abubakar Adamu has been tasked to investigate and prosecute the Osun State House of Assembly member representing Obokun State Constituency, Adeyemi Adewumi over alleged perjury before the Court of Appeal, Akure.
In a petition against the Adewumi, signed by one Oyinola Ajayi of the Ajibola Basiru and Co, and delivered at the IG’s office in Abuja on Friday, copies of which were forwarded to the office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 11, Osogbo, Osun State Commissioner of Police and the Director, Department of State Security Service, the lawmaker, a member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) was alleged to have lied under oath.
It would be recalled that the Court of Appeal in Akure had last week fined the lawmaker N100,000 for presenting a purported Record of Proceeding of the state election petition tribunal, which was alleged to be fake during the hearing of his appeal against the judgment of the Osun election tribunal which nullified his election.
Tracing the genesis at a press briefing in Osogbo at the weekend, Barrister Kolapo Alimi, one of the counsel to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its House of Assembly candidate in Obokun State Constituency, Olatunbosun Oyintiloye said, Adewumi lied under oath by swearing to affidavit to complement a fraudulently generated document and presented same as authentic.
Quoting from the petition, Alimi said, “Our client was the candidate of the APC House of Assembly Election for Obokun Constituency of Osun State which was conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the 9th day of March, 2019. Upon the declaration of the result on the 9th day of March, 2019 in which Mr. Adewunmi Adeyemi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared the winner, our client instituted a petition before the election tribunal to challenge the result of the election.
“At the conclusion of the Petition, the Tribunal delivered its judgment on the 2nd day of September, 2019 where it was ordered that re-run election be held in four Polling Units. Dissatisfied with the decision of the tribunal, Mr. Adewunmi and the PDP appealed to the Court of Appeal, Akure, Ondo State.
“On the 8th of October, 2019, the appeal came up for the first time. While in Court on this fateful day, a process titled “Supplementary Record of Appeal” was served on us on behalf of Mr. Adewunmi and the PDP. After perusing the record, it was discovered that there were discrepancies in it which were inconsistent with the contents of the original “Record of Appeal” compiled and transmitted by the Secretary of the lower Tribunal (Mr. Aliyu Ahmad) to the Court of Appeal.
“Having seen that the “Supplementary Record of Appeal” was a product of fraud, a motion on notice was filed on behalf of Oyintiloye and the APC, praying the Court of Appeal to strike out the “Supplementary Record” filed by Mr. Adewunmi and the PDP. The Chairman of the Tribunal, Hon. Justice Eyo Efiom Ita was joined as a Respondent in the Motion on Notice because the “Supplementary Record” shows that he presided over the Petition alone on some days.
“In response to the Motion to strike out the “Supplementary Record” Mr. Adewunmi deposed to a 22 paragraph Counter-Affidavit where he expressly deposed that “I KNOW AS A FACT” that the Chairman of the tribunal presided over the petition alone.
“Upon the receipt of the application, the Chairman of the tribunal, deposed to a 4 paragraph Affidavit where he expressly stated that at no time did he sit alone over the Petition from the beginning to the end of the case. He even attached his record of proceedings as an Exhibit to the Affidavit.
“We hasten to state that it is evidently clear that the Record of Appeal compiled and transmitted by the Secretary of the lower tribunal and the Record of Proceedings attached to the affidavit deposed to by the chairman of the lower are of the same contents.
“It may interest you to know that Mr. Adewunmi Adeyemi, the 1st Appellant who deposed to the Counter-Affidavit and clearly stated that he knows as a fact that the Tribunal Chairman sat alone on the 29th April, 2019, 7th May, 2019, 27th May, 2019, 10th June, 2019, 14th June, 2019, 2nd July, 2019 and 9th July, 2019 was not even present at the proceedings of the Tribunal on the following dates: 29th April, 2019, 7th May, 2019, 27th May, 2019, 10th May, 2019 and 9th July, 2019.
“The question that begs for answer is “how did he know as a fact that the Chairman of the trial tribunal sat alone on the above listed days?” Yet, he swore to an oath that only the Tribunal Chairman sat on the aforementioned dates.
“Section 117 of the Criminal Code provides that, “Any person who, in any judicial proceeding, or for the purpose of instituting any judicial proceeding, knowingly gives false testimony touching any matter which is material to any question then pending in that proceedings” or intended to be raised in that proceeding, is guilty of an offence which is called perjury”
“The Section goes further to state, it is immaterial whether the testimony is given on oath or under any other sanction authorized by law. The forms or ceremonies used in administering the oath or in otherwise binding the person giving the testimony to speak the truth are immaterial, if he assent to the forms and ceremonies actually used. It is immaterial whether the false testimony is given orally or in writing. It is immaterial whether the court or tribunal is properly constituted, or is held in the proper place, or not, if it actually acts as a court or tribunal in the proceeding in which the testimony is given. It is immaterial whether the person who gives the testimony is a competent witness or not, or whether the testimony is admissible in the proceeding or not.
“Section 118 of the Criminal Code provides, “Any person who commits perjury is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years. If the offender commits the offence in order to procure the conviction of another person for an offence punishable with death or with imprisonment for life, he is liable to imprisonment for life”, the petition quoted.
Alimi stressed that the above cited sections of the Criminal Code show that Perjury is a grave crime, saying it was clearly seen in the record of proceedings of the lower tribunal that the statements made by Adewunmi in his affidavit constitute perjury, demanding the investigation and prosecution of the PDP lawmaker at the appropriate court of law.