n Uyo High Court Thursday February 15, 2018 heard how a Legal Practitioner, Ime Joseph Bassey allegedly forged the signature of a judge to produce a court ruling. At the resumed hearing of the case, HU/46c/2014, presided over by Hon. Justice Okon Okon, another Legal Practitioner, Hon Idongesit Umoh Esq, while witnessing as PW4, narrated how the alleged crime was perpetrated by the accused person.
Led in evidence by state Counsel, Joseph Umoren Esq, Hon Umoh informed the court that one of his friends, Pastor Christian Mboho had earlier approached him to offer legal representation in all his matters and the Brook Micro-Finance Bank, where he was. Director. He said he turned down the offer, but rather asked his friend to seek the services of another lawyer and that was how Pastor Mboho briefed the accused person and engaged him as his lawyer. He said that sometime in 2014, Pastor Mboho came to him complaining that he was not satisfied with the way his legal matters were being handled by the accused person, I. J Bassey Esq. and sought his assistance.
Umoh informed he Court that Mboho came armed with a document that had two sides. The first side being a court ruling, purportedly obtained from the High Court and signed by Hon Justice Ifiok Ukana, while the reverse side was an application for more funds from his client based on the court ruling. It was at this point that Hon Umoh said he opted to help his friend by taking over the matters as demanded by him, but insisted on first finding out the stages and status of the various cases, allegedly pending in various high courts within the state and about five said to be pending at the court of Appeal in Calabar.
The witness narrated how he went to the Assistant Chief Registrar of the state High Court, and presented the court ruling with a view to finding out the status of the case, only for the ACR to deny that the signature on the document was his and said same of the purported signature of Hon Justice Ifiok Ukana. He said that the ACR confirmed both signatures to have been forged. Justice Ifiok Ukana had earlier testified as PW3 in the case.
Following his findings on that particular case, the witness stated that he asked his friend, now his client to write to the Court of Appeal registry to find out the status of the cases said to be pending at the Court of Appeal. He said that the result obtained as response from the court was a stunning revelation that no case involving the client was pending before the Court of Appeal in Calabar.
On further inquiry concerning the remaining cases said to be pending within the state, the witness said it was discovered that most of the court processes the accused person has been using to fleece the client were fictitious as no such cases were pending in any court.
The witness while responding to the defence lawyer’s question said he almost got locked up by the police in a case of the accuser being turned to an accused. In another answer to defence lawyer, Chief Anselem Eyo, the witness admitted that there was no written authority asking him to take over the cases that were being handled by the accused person. He also admitted that while he was discovering all the alleged wrongs by the accused person, he did not make any attempt to meet with him.