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Tribunal: Bank Fails To Present Document Linking Kogi Dep. Governor With Alleged Fraud, Age Falsification

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By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja.
A Commercial Bank, Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB ) on Thursday in Abuja failed to present to the Kogi State Election Petition Tribunal a document relating to the disengagement of the Deputy Governor of Kogi state, Mr. Edward Onoja, when he was a staff of the bank.
The tribunal, led by Justice Kashim Kaigama, had subpoenaed the bank to appear with the records of Onoja, including the document relating to his exit from the bank.
The governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, Mrs. Natasha Akpoti, had dragged the All Progressives Congress, APC, Governor Yahaya Bello, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and Onoja before the tribunal, alleging irregularities in the November 16, 2019 governorship election in the state.
As part of her contentions in the petition, she alleged that Onoja ought not to have been allowed to contest the election on the ground that he falsified his age and was also disengaged from the bank over allegations of fraud.
However when a staff of the bank Mr Abayomi Sanni was called to the witness box, he presented other records of Onoja as a staff of the bank but failed to show to the tribunal the document that had to do with his exit.
Akpoti had alleged conspiracy between the bank and the deputy governor over the failure of the bank to present the document.
Akpoti’s Counsel, Mr. Ola Olanipekun, SAN, in anger said, ”GTB did not come with the evidence relating to how the deputy governor was disengaged from the bank.
“The argument before this tribunal is that Onoja was sacked from the GTB.
“The bank and this staff did not come forth with document required in this matter, they did not say they don’t have it. They were subpoenaed to bring the documents of the disengagement”, he said.
Also yesterday at the tribunal, a witness from the Rivers state Judiciary, Alison Tamunosagogo, was called to give evidence on the age declaration by the deputy governor.
According to the document before the tribunal, Onoja was said to have stated in his record at the bank that he was born on August 9, 1974, but in his INEC form ECF001, he said he was born on August 9, 1975.
Alison, a bailiff from Rivers State High Court could not give evidence on the document, as Counsel to INEC, Dr. Alex Iziyon, SAN, raised objection, saying that the witness’ evidence was been given outside the subpoena which is based on age declaration only.
Olanipekun on his part insisted that the witness should be allowed to proceed with his testimony.
The tribunal has adjourned further sitting to April 20, 2020.

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