…….increases charges against them to 7-counts
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Nigerian Police Force, NPF, has increased the examination malpractice charges it levelled against the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the last Governorship candidate in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
In an amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/156/2018, Police, added three more allegations to the initial four-count criminal charge it preferred against Adeleke and four others.
The Defendants who were re-arraigned on Tuesday, pleaded not guilty to the amended charge, even as they were allowed to go home on the same bail terms the trial court handed to them on October 31.
Those that took fresh plea alongside Adeleke who was runner up in the September 22 gubernatorial election in Osun State, were his brother, Sikiru Adeleke, Alhaji Aregbesola Mufutau (Principal, Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, Ojo-Aro Osun State), Gbadamosi Thomas Ojo (school Registrar) and Dare Samuel Olutope (a teacher).
Adeleke had earlier secured bail from the court on self recognizance, while the other defendants secured bail in the sum of N2million each.
However, trial Justice I. E. Ekwo compelled the embattled lawmaker to sign an undertaken to always attend his trial and not travel out of the country without permission.
The court equally ordered the other Defendants to provide a surety each in the sum of N2m, as well as to surrender their international passports to the Court’s Registrar.
It stressed that the sureties should be owners of verifiable landed properties in Abuja.
Meanwhile, shortly after he took his plea on Tuesday, the PDP flag-bearer, through his lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon, SAN, persuaded the court to release his international passport to enable him to travel outside the country for medical check-up.
In the amended charge dated December 15, and signed by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Simon Lough, Police maintained that the Defendants committed examination malpractices by fraudulently, through impersonation, registering Adeleke and another Sikiru Adeleke, as students of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, in Ojo-Aro in Osun State, for the National Examination Council’s June/July 2017 Senior School Certificate Examination in February 2017.
In count-one of the charge, the prosecution alleged that the five defendants, “conspired to commit felony, to wit: examination malpractices, and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 10 of the Examination Malpractices Act Cap E15 LFN 2004”.
In count-two, it alleged that the three members of staff of the school acted in concert by aiding and abetting “the commission of examination malpractice by personation”, when they allegedly “registered Senator Ademola Adeleke and Sikiru Adeleke”, while “knowing or having reasons to believe that they are not students of the school”.
The alleged offence was said to be contrary to Section 9(1) of the Examination Malpractices Act Cap E15 LFN 2004.
In count three and four, Police told the court that the three members of staff of the school, “while “saddled with the responsibilities of registering students of your school in the June/July 2017 NECO examination, breached that duty by registering Senator Ademola Adeleke and Sikiru Adeleke as students of your school in the June/July 2017 NECO examination when you know or had reasons to believe that they are not students of the school”.
In count five and six, they were alleged to have fraudulently registered Ademola and Sikiru Adeleke for the examination and pursuant to the abetment, awarded them seven credits, one pass and five credits respectively, and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 10(a) and punishable under section 3 of the Examination Malpractices Act Cap E15 LFN 2004.
In count seven, the two Adelekes were accused of acting in concert, and impersonated as students of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School when you fraudulently registered as internal students of the school in the June/July, 2017 NECO, and having registered, conspired with unknown persons now at large to write the examination for them.
The offence is said to be contrary to Section 3(2) of the Examination Malpractices Act Cap E15 LFN 2004.
Meantime, Justice Ekwo has fixed February 12 to commence full-blown hearing on the matter.