By Joe Nwankwo,Abuja
The Young Progressive Party (YPP) on Monday dragged a judge Of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Justice Bello Kawu, before the National Judicial Council (NJC) over alleged act of professional misconduct, forgery, abuse of office amongst others in the case between one Anani Chuka and Senator Ifeanyi Ubah.
Justice Kawu had in the said case ordered the removal of Senator Ubah from office as a senator having allegedly found him guilty of forging his National Examination Council (NECO) certificate to aid his qualification for the Anambra South Senatorial District election which held on February 23, 2019.
Although Senator Ubah has appealed the judgment with the appellate court to deliver its verdict in the appeal latest Thursday, March 19, 2020, the YPP has however approached the national body that is saddled with the affairs of judges in the country to investigate Justice Kawu with the aim of correcting any perceived wrong the judge may have engaged in during the course of hearing and determining the case.
The letter titled: ‘Petition on Judicial Misconduct against Hon. Justice Bello Kawu in Respect of Suit No: CV/3045/2018: Anani Anacletus Chuka vs Ubah Ifeanyi Patrick and Others’, cited by Nigerian pilot was dated March 16, 2020 and signed by the YPP’s National Secretary, Mr Vidiyeno Bamaiyi.
Bamaiyi, in the letter addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Chairman of the NJC, Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, prayed the council to give urgent and necessary attention to their complaint and safe the Judiciary from disrepute.
My lords” It is with sadness and heaviness of heart that we present this request arising from the manner in which My Lord, the Honourable Justice Bello Kawu of the Kubwa Division of the F.C.T. High Court conspired with some counsel now standing trial before the Federal High Court, Abuja Division to falsify court processes, Record of Proceedings and record of to produce a judgment he purportedly delivered on the 11th of April, 2019. The acts of Justice Bello Kawu has brought odium and shame to the judiciary and we as a matter of necessity must bring such shameful and dishonourable conduct to the attention of the NJC”
“The facts giving rise to this petition arose from a purported pre-election matter with Suit No. FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 purportedly filed by one Anani Anacletus Chuka which was purportedly commenced on 19th October 2018 and a purported application for joinder in the same suit also purportedly filed on the 27th day of March 2019, by one Obinna Uzoh which was heard and granted on the 1st of April, 2019 about 36 days after elections was held and result announced.
“On the 1st day of April 2019, the said Obinna Uzoh purportedly filed a Counter Affidavit and Written Address to the Originating Summons.
“On the 11th day of April, 2019, Hon. Justice Kawo purportedly delivered Judgment in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 dismissing the Claimant’s reliefs but surprisingly granted the reliefs sought by the said Obinna Uzoh in his Final Written Address even though Obinna Uzoh upon his joinder did not file a counter claim or a cross-claim as a respondent seeking the reliefs purportedly granted to him by Hon. Justice Kawu.
“We only became aware of the Judgment in October 2019 when Obinna Uzoh sought to enforce the judgement he purportedly obtained on 11th April 2019 at INEC, a period of over 6 months from the date the said judgment was purportedly delivered.
“Senator Ifeanyi Ubah instructed his Legal Team led by Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN to bring an application before the Court to set aside its Judgment that was delivered without jurisdiction and in breach of the parties right to fair hearing. On the 17th day of January, 2020, the trial Court dismissed the application.
“That consequent upon the dismissal of the Motion to set aside the Judgement in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah filed on the 20th day of January 2020 a Notice of Appeal.
“That Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu SAN while preparing the Appellant’s Reply brief realized that the Originating Summons in the Record of Appeal was not signed by any Counsel as required by law, consequent upon which a Motion was filed on the 3rd day of March 2020 praying the Court of Appeal to strike out the Originating Summons as being incompetent and to dismiss the Appeal.
“At the hearing of the Appeal, the Counsel to the Claimant indicated to the Court of Appeal that they the intended to produce a signed Originating Summons in response to the above, we consequently applied for fresh Certified True Copy of the Original court file containing all the Court Processes and the Chief Registrar issued us with a Certified True Copy of the Originating Summons as well as the payment receipts and Bank tellers issued in this matter.
“In the course of the Certification, we realized that the date on the court copy of the Aso Savings Deposit Slip with Teller No: 0148979, and the Revenue Receipt with Receipt No: 11643044 and Revenue Receipt No: 0148979 covering the payment of filing fees for the Originating Summons were mutilated to bear 19/10/2018 as the date of payment.
“We became curious and agitated as to the mutilation of dates on the receipts of filing of the Originating Summons and on the 6th day of March 2020, we applied to the Chief Registrar of the FCT High Court for a confirmation of the date filing fee for the Originating Summons in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 was paid.
“The Chief Registrar of the FCT High Court, Abuja vide a letter dated the 6th day of March 2020, confirmed that payment for filing of Originating Summons in Suit No. FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 with Receipt No: 11643044 and Teller No: 0148979 in the sum of N4,300.00 (Four Thousand, Three Hundred Naira Only) was made on the 25th day of September, 2019 by Aroh Ifunanya for a matter in which judgment was purportedly delivered on 11th April, 2019.
“From the Registry of the High Court of the FCT, we further confirmed that all other processes filed in the suit were all paid for after the purported judgment of Hon. Justice Bello Kawu was delivered on 11th day of April, 2019.
“From the evidence of the Registry of the High Court of the FCT, at the time the Judgment in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018 was purportedly delivered by Hon Justice Bello Kawu on 11th April, 2019, the Suit had not been filed and did not exist.
“The date of filing of this action is also shown in the unmutilated receipt with Receipt No: 11643044 and Aso Savings and Loans Teller with Teller No: 0148979, issued by the Registry of the High Court of the FCT.
“We further investigated the seal of the Nigerian Bar Association Seal affixed on the processes by Counsel to the 1st Respondent named Aroh Ifunanya Esq with Enrolment No: SCN 101933 attached to the Written Address in Support of the Originating Summons dated 19th October, 2018 as well as seal of one Eziafa Samuel Enwedo in a Motion for Substituted Service dated 3rd December, 2018 all bore an expiration date of March 2020, being aware that NBA Seals have a life span of only one (1) year.
“We wrote a Letter to the General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) dated 6th day of March 2020, to confirm the date of issuance of the seal affixed by Aroh Ifunanya as well as Eziafa Samuel Enwedo on the said aforementioned.
“That the NBA responded vide a letter dated 6th day of March, 2020 and stated that the Stamp utilized by Ifunanya Nwando Aroh which was inserted in the written address in support of Originating Summons was produced under Batch 137 on the 20th day of August 2019 and the seal of Eziafa Samuel Enwedo inserted in a Motion for Substituted Service dated 3rd December, 2018 was produced under batch 150 on 11th September, 2019, meanwhile the judgment was is purported to have been delivered on 11th April, 2019.
“It follows that as at the time the Originating Summons was purportedly commenced on 19th October, 2018 and up to when Judgment was delivered in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018, the Stamp and Seal with Enrolment No: SCN 101933 utilized in the Originating Summons by Ifunanya Nwando Aroh was non-existent as same had not been produced and duly issued by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). This is impossible.
“That as at the time the Application for joinder by the 4th Defendant and the Counter Affidavit to the Originating Summons were purportedly filed on 27th March 2019 and 2nd April 2019 respectively, and up to when Judgment was delivered in Suit No: FCT/HC/CV/3044/2018, the Stamp and Seal with Enrolment No: SCN 089053 for Eziafa Enwedo utilized in the motion for joinder was non-existent as same had not been produced and duly issued by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
“From the documents received from the Registry of the FCT High Court, all processes filed in this suit were backdated by the Plaintiff with active connivance of Hon. Justice Kawu who also backdated his judgement to a time to a time when the suit had not been filed.
“That it was discovered that on the 6th of September 2019 the same Claimant in the cloned CV/3044/2018 had filed a Suit with Suit No. CV/2829/2019 between Anani Anacletus v Ubah Ifeanyi & Ors that was identical in all ramifications with the cloned cv/3044/2018 which was assigned to Justice Babangida of the FCT High Court.
“That the proper suit with Suit No. Cv/3044/2018 is S & M Holdings Limited v Persons Unkown which is before the Kwali division of the FCT High Court.
“That the Register used for allocation of cases was mutilated to superimpose the name of Anani Anacletus v Ubah Ifeanyi & Ors over the existing name of S & M Holdings Limited V Persons Unknown that was hitherto on the register, but a careful perusal of the register will disclose the fraud.
“That the proper suit number for Anani Anacletus Chuka v Ubah Ifeanyi & Ors is No.CV/2829/2019 which was superimposed on the cloned cv/3044/2018 with the active connivance of Justice Bello Kawu and other staff of the FCT judiciary.
“That the assignment directive of the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court was falsified by Justice Bello Kawu and his Registrar together with the litigants and lawyers who conspired to produce the said judgment to give the impression that the backdated suit was assigned by the Chief Judge.
“That the purport of the entire scheme of Hon. Justice Kawo and the other counsels who participated in the act was to make an already statute barred post-election suit a pre-election matter with a view to un-sit a duly elected Senator of the Federal Republic. The essence was to first create the impression that the suit was filed within the 14days from the accrual of the cause of action as provided by the constitution and secondly, to make it impossible for Senator Ifeanyi Ubah to appeal against the said judgment as time within which to do so would have elapsed.
“That the entire record of proceedings signed by Justice Bello Kawu was contrived as Justice Bello Kawu never sat at all over the suit and the purported judgment was not a product of any judicial proceeding but a product of judicial collusion as no suit had been filed on the dates contained in the record of proceedings.
“That as a matter of fact, no proceedings took place between 19th October 2018 till 11th April, 2019 as all the processes were falsified with the active connivance of Hon. Justice Bello Kawu.
“That startled by these facts the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court referred the matter as regards the administrative staff of the court involved in the act to the Petitions Committee of the Court.
“That at the administrative hearing in respect of judicial staff, the heads of the Process section, Revenue section, Litigations Section and other relevant sections of the court confirmed that suit CV/3044/2018 was a cloned suit and did not exist.
“That the whole charade was done in September 2019 and justifies why the beneficiary of the judgment did not take any step to be sworn in at the 11th June 2019 swearing in of 109 Senators of the 9th Senate of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“My Lord, considering the need for the protection of the integrity of the judiciary, we are constrained to bring the foregoing to the attention of the National Judicial Council to investigate and properly discipline Hon. Justice Kawu for his misconduct as we believe that his conduct is unbecoming of a judicial officer and has brought shame and disgrace to the judiciary,” part of the letter read.
According to the petitioner, the alleged act of misconduct of the judge was discovered when Senator Ubah lodged an appeal at the Court of Appeal challenging the ruling of Justice Kawu which dismissed his motion seeking to set aside Kawu’s earlier judgment which ordered his removal from office.
Justice Kawu had on April 11, 2019 ordered Ubah’s removal as Senator and went ahead on January 17, 2020 to affirm his judgment.
The YPP, in the petition, claimed that court documents relating to the case were forged by lawyers said to be working for the benefactor of the judgment with support of the court’s staff.
“From the documents received from the Registry of the FCT High Court, all processes filed in this suit were backdated by the plaintiff with active connivance of Hon. Justice Kawu who also backdated his judgment to a time when the suit had not been filed,” the petition read.