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Alleged NYSC Certificate Forgery: Gov. Mbah Had National Youth Service In My Firm, Witness Tells Enugu Tribunal

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At the resumed hearing on a petition against the election of Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State at the State Election Petition Tribunal, a subpoenaed witness called by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Victor Udeh told the Tribunal that Peter Mbah had his National Youth Service in his firm.

Labour Party governorship candidate, Chijioke Edeoga was challenging the declaration of Mbah as the winner of the March 18 governorship election.

Part of the grounds stated in the petition by the petitioner was that Mbah submitted a fake NYSC discharge certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), insisting that he lied on oath.

While Mbah was supposed to undergo one-year mandatory national service between October 2002 and September 2003, he was however, appointed Chief of Staff to former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani on July 10, 2003, and subsequently appointed commissioner for finance under the same administration.

The NYSC has since declared that the discharge certificate Mbah submitted to INEC  is fake.

In a deposition at the Federal High Court, Abuja, deposed to by the Assistant Director in the Corps Certification Department, Mrs. Rhoda Dawa, NYSC unequivocally stated that the discharge certificate that Governor Mbah claimed was issued to him did not emanate from the Corps.

It insisted in the deposition that Mbah did not complete his service year, adding that the data sheet that Mbah was to have signed before collecting his discharge certificate, was not signed. It averred that while the certificate presented by the Enugu governor bears the serial number, A808297, the one prepared for him, but which he did not collect, bore the serial number, 673517.

The NYSC also stated that contrary to Mbah’s claim that his probable date of discharge was September 15, 2002, his probable date of discharge upon completing his programme at the Nigerian Law School, was September 15, 2003.

It was further averred that Peter Mbah was not issued any discharge certificate by the NYSC because he did not complete his service year, even though he was mobilised for the scheme.

It said the discharge certificate prepared for him was later returned to the NYSC headquarters, along with other unclaimed certificates, after which it was destroyed along with other unclaimed certificates, in the presence of security operatives.

Meanwhile, Mbah is seeking a declaration from the court that he participated in the NYSC scheme for one calendar year via a call-up letter numbered FRN/2001/800351 with the Lagos code LA/01/1532. He also argued that the declaration must state that he was issued a certificate of national service numbered A808297 upon completion of his service year in 2003.

However, on Thursday during the resumed hearing at the Tribunal, a PDP witness, Victor Udeh told the tribunal that Mbah did his youth service in his law firm and was equally issued the last ‘Place of Primary Assignment’ (PPA) clearance letter which was personally signed by him.

The witness told the court that Mbah was redeployed to his law firm, Udeh & Associates, in Lagos after he was rejected by the Nigerian Ports Authority where he was first posted.  According to him, in the middle of his service, Mbah wrote to the National Youth Service Corps, requesting permission to go and complete his Bar Final at the Nigerian Law School and be reinstated later. However, he didn’t give the date when those letters and correspondence were exchanged between Mbah and NYSC.

The witness further stated that the NYSC in a letter which was sent from the NYSC headquarters permitted him to complete his Bar Final. According to him, Mbah was reinstated to complete what was left of his service year.

He maintained that Mbah served diligently and meritoriously and was issued a final clearance letter from his firm. The witness also affirmed that Mbah collected his discharge certificate from the NYSC.

The witness tendered 21 documents which included: Mbah’s call-up letter, letter of deployment to the Nigerian Ports Authority, letter of redeployment to the law firm of Udeh & Associates, monthly clearance papers, and last clearance paper, among other documents. The documents were all admitted in evidence before the tribunal.

Responding to a question by the counsel for the Labour Party, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, during cross-examination as to whether he was aware that Mbah was the chief of staff to the state governor as of July 10, 2003, the witness stated that Mbah never accepted the offer until September 2003, when he had completed his national youth service.

“Witness, confirm to this tribunal that as of July 10, 2003, Mbah became the Chief of Staff to one Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani who was the governor of Enugu State,” Awomolo said.

The witness responded that the information was not true, saying that Mbah accepted the offer to be a chief of staff to the then-governor immediately after he finished his national service in September 2003.

Department of State Services (DSS), told the Tribunal that Mbah didn’t forge any discharge certificate, blaming the NYSC for poor record-keeping and misrepresentation of facts.


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