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Sick Bayelsa Senator Misses Court Appearance



Im sick Bayelsa senator tells court

The arraignment of Bayelsa Central’s senator, Benson Konbowei, for alleged forgery was postponed on Monday due to his absence in court.

NewsNow reported that the Inspector-General of Police charged the senator with forgery.

The IG filed three charges, including the alleged forgery of the National Youth Service Corps exemption certificate, against the senator in a suit marked CR/028/2023.

The senator was accused of fraudulently forging a document titled ‘Certificate of Exemption’ with number 000256454 and dated July 4, 2008.

The police claimed that the senator violated sections 366,156, and 158 of the Penal Code Act CAP 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990, and was liable to punishment under Section 364 of the same Act.

However, the senator’s counsel, Gordy Uche (SAN), informed the judge that his client was “medically indisposed” and presented a medical report to support his claim.

He said, “My Lord, the defendant is medically indisposed and cannot be in court. He is on a drip. I pray the court for an adjournment. I promise to provide him at the next proceedings.”

Conversely, the Attorney General of the Federation’s counsel, Egwuaba Reuben, alleged that the defendant was evading trial and requested the court to issue a bench warrant against the senator.

Egwuaba stated, “We oppose the medical report. He was at the force headquarters and wrote a petition against me on Friday where he stated that he wanted the police to continue with the case. He said he did not want me. In view of this, I seek an order of this court in accordance with Section 352 of the ACJA to issue a warrant of arrest for the defendant. His absence is a calculated attempt to undermine the court.”

In response, the trial judge, Justice Christopher Oba, overruled the prosecutor and accepted the submitted medical report.

He mentioned, “The problem is that the court is expected to act on fact. If you have a contrary view, you should say it on oath or bring another document to show the medical report is not the fact.”

The judge, however, noted that the medical report brought by the senator lacked the hospital name and instructed that the name of the hospital must be provided. He then adjourned the matter till March 26 and 28 for arraignment and commencement of trial.

“If you don’t come with your witnesses, I will strike out your case,” warned Justice Oba to the prosecutor.