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Tribunal rejects Ngige's letter to INEC as exhibit

04 April 2014, 13:52

Awka - The Election Petition Tribunal on the 2013 governorship election in Anambra on Thursday rejected a letter tendered by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the election, Chris Ngige.

Ngige, who petitioned the tribunal alleging irregularities at the polls, was at the tribunal sitting at Awka to testify in the case.

Led in evidence by his counsel, Rotimi Akeredolu, Ngige said that the letter was the one he wrote to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), seeking cancellation of result of the election.

He said that he sought the cancellation on grounds of irregularities.

Counsel to INEC, Patrick Ikweto, however, objected to the acceptance of a copy of the letter, arguing that it did not meet the provisions of Section 102 (e) of the Evidence Act.

Ikweto told the tribunal that the only letter admissible in civil proceedings was a certified true copy, which upon receipt by INEC, had become a public document.

He, therefore, urged the court not to admit the letter in evidence, saying that “what Ngige is presenting cannot serve as a counterpart of the letter”

Countering Ikweto, Akeredolu argued that a private document submitted to a public body could not become a public document on its own.

He said INEC refused to produce the certified true copy of the letter even when his client applied for it through the tribunal on March 18.

In his ruling, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Ishaq Bello, rejected the copy of the letter, saying it could not be admitted as exhibit.

Bello pointed out that there was no evidence that showed that a copy of the letter was submitted to INEC.

The proceedings at the tribunal continue on Friday.

 - NAN

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