From Steve Oko, Umuahia
The Election Petitions Tribunal for Abia North senatorial district sitting in Umuahia, Tuesday at the resumed hearing of the suit filed against the election of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (APC) by Senator Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP), said it had found the missing exhibits tendered by Ohuabunwa.
Chairman of the three -man panel, Justice Cornelius Akintoya who announced the recovery of the missing documents at the beginning of the hearing Tuesday, said they were misplaced in another file by the court clerk.
Ohuabunwa’s lawyers had at the last sitting protested the non-availability of some of the exhibits they had earlier tendered, insisting that they had to be produced before further hearing.
The panel had demanded explanations from the Court Clerk in whose custody the documents were kept .
The Clerk had in his response said he had searched for the documents but could not trace their whereabouts.
Consequently, the tribunal rose and the judges retired to the chambers for about 35 minutes, and when they resurfaced, adjourned hearing till July 22 and 23.
They had however, before the adjournment, asked Ohuabunwa’s lawyers to reproduce the missing documents from the certified true copies in their custody.
Meanwhile at the resumed hearing yesterday, Ohuabunwa called eight witnesses who acted as Ward Agents during the poll.
The witnesses had during cross examination by Kalu, APC and INEC’s legal team, testified that the ward results differed from the polling unit results in favour of the APC candidate.
After hours of cross examination, hearing was adjourned till 28 and 29th July.
Later in an interview, one of the Counsels to Ohuabunwa, Mike Onyeka, expressed satisfaction with the proceedings so far.
He said his client had so far called 39 witnesses who had been cross-examined, adding that by next sitting they expect to call additional 10 witnesses.
Onyeka expressed confidence that his client would get justice at the tribunal .
Similarly, Kalu’s lawyer, Kelvin Nwufo expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the day’s proceeding, saying he is confident the tribunal will uphold the victory of his client.
Counsel to INEC, Adizuwa Okorafor, said the missing- but-found documents were inadvertently put in another file, adding that there was no way their non-availability at the previous sitting would have been deliberate.