Iwu alleges forgery of INEC stamp by Victor Umeh

  • Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - From Kelechi Okoronkwo, Abuja
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FACTIONAL national chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, has described as baseless, a petition filed by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Maurice Iwu, to the Inspector-General of Police alleging that he (Umeh) forged the Commission's stamp.

In the petition, a copy of which The Guardian obtained yesterday in Abuja, Iwu accused Umeh of using a forged INEC stamp to endorse a copy of the internal memorandum of the agency, which Umeh tendered to the Federal High Court in the pursuit of his case against the electoral body.

The petition read in part: " Our attention has been drawn to the use of a forged stamp purporting to be a stamp of the Commission by the above-named person (Umeh) to stamp a copy of an internal memorandum of the commission. The stamping was done on a document annexed by the said Victor Umeh and Sani Shinkaffi of 41B Libreville Street, Wuse II, Abuja through their lawyer P.I. Ikweato (SAN) to the suit in court when obviously the stamp does not belong to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) nor did it emanate from INEC.

"This is very serious, given the political implications of un-authorised persons using forged stamps to purport to authenticate official documents of the INEC. We humbly request that the forgery be promptly investigated and culprits brought to book."

When Umeh was contacted yesterday, he said he recalled a memorandum, which he tendered to the court but denied making or stamping the document. Umeh argued that the memorandum was duly stamped by the INEC, accusing the Commission's chairman of making efforts to subvert the decision of the court, which ruled in his (Umeh) favour.

"How can I stamp an INEC document? Where can I get the INEC internal memorandum? If the document tendered to the court does not belong to the INEC, why did they not report it to the court when the case was on-going. Now, when the court followed the due process and rule of law and ruled in my favour, Iwu is trying to revert the judgment by accusing me that I forged INEC stamp and stamped it on the INEC document.

"We did not use INEC stamp, let alone forging one. The stamp belongs to the INEC. This is the scheming of Prof. Maurice Iwu with which he fraudulently wants to revert the judgment of the court. But I can tell you that the allegation is baseless," Ume said.

Meanwhile, Umeh's contender to APGA's national leadership, Chief Chekwas Okorie has said the alleged report of forgery against Umeh had paved the way for his (Okorie's) eventual emergence as the party's national chairman.

In a statement yesterday in Abuja, he said: "It has now been revealed that Victor Umeh and Sani Shinkafi in conspiracy with their counsel forged INEC official stamp and stamped it on the internal memorandum of the Commission and filed this forged document in Suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/38/08 as Exhibit 5, accompanied by an affidavit sworn by Sani Shinkafi purporting the document to be an authentic official document of INEC.

"Upon the discovery of this... Chairman of INEC, Professor Maurice Iwu promptly forwarded a petition to the Inspector General of Police to immediately investigate the crime and bring the culprits to book."

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