By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — The Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed December 12 for the Federal Government to arraign Senator Isah Misau on an amended 10-count forgery charge.
The trial, which was earlier scheduled to commence yesterday could not proceed after it was discovered that the charge, which was filed by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, was defective.
Immediately the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/170/2017, was called up by trial Justice Anwuli Chikere, Misau, who represents Bauchi Central Senatorial District, mounted the dock.
However, before the charge could be read to him, the lawmaker, through his lawyer, Dr. Joshua Yusuf Musa, SAN, challenged its legal competence, noting that the charge was bereft of the requisite seal.
Musa argued that under Order 10 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, a seal duly authorised by the Nigerian Bar Association must be affixed to every charge to accord it validity.
He said it would not be proper for his client to enter his plea to a defective charge.
On his part, a lawyer from the office of the AGF, Mr. Saleh Hadi, acknowledged that seal was not affixed to the charge, even as he applied for a short adjournment to enable Federal Government to regularise the amended charge.
Consequently, Justice Chikere deferred the arraignment till December 12.
In the amended charge, FG accused the embattled lawmaker of making and uttering false documents that he allegedly submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission when he was seeking election to the Senate in 2011 and 2014.
The documents, which he was said to have falsely made and uttered, comprised affidavits in support of personal particulars, statutory declaration of age deposed to at the FCT High Court and the Bauchi State Health Management Board Birth Certificate with number 28799.
The defendant was alleged to have forged a Bauchi State Health Management Board Birth Certificate with number 141400C which he allegedly submitted to INEC on January 28, 2011, knowing it to be false.
The various birth certificates and statutory declarations of age the Senator submitted to INEC at different times were said to have disclosed different dates of birth.
It will be recalled that FG had on October 19, equally arraigned Misau before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory for making “injurious falsehood” against the IGP and the Nigerian Police Force.
Misua who was released on bail in the sum of N5million with two sureties in like sum, was docked by FG for alleging that police officers allegedly paid as much as N2.5m to get special promotion and posting through the Police Service Commission.
The Senator who is a retired Deputy Superintendent of Police, was further charged for alleging that the police boss diverted money meant for the purchase of Armoured Personnel Carriers, Sport Utility Vehicles and other exotic cars.
He was said to have falsely accused the IGP of making almost half of the mobile commanders in the country the people of his Nupe extraction.
The lawmaker, aside accusing the IGP of instituting roadblocks across Nigeria with the purpose of extorting money from unsuspecting motorists, equally alleged that the police boss had sexual affair with female police officers.
Misau equally alleged that the IGP collects illegal fees by way of security protections given to corporate organizations, eminent citizens and oil companies running into billions of Naira.
The AGF maintained that the defendant had by his action utterances, committed an offence contrary to Section 393(1) of the Penal Code.
Meanwhile, two of the amended charges Misau is expected to enter his plea to next month, read: “That you lsah Hamman Misau of Hamman Misau Residence, Turaki Street, Misau, Bauchi State on or about January 28, 2011 at the Independent National Electoral Commission headquarters, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did make a false document to wit: Bauchi State Health Management Board Birth Certificate with Registration No. 141400C which you submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission knowing it to be false and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.
“That you Isah Hamman Misau of Hamman Misau Residence, Turaki Street, Misau, Bauchi State on or about January 28, 2011 at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did utter a false document to wit: Bauchi State Health Management Board Birth Certificate Registration No. 141400C by submitting same to the Independent National Electoral Commission knowing it to be false and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.”