The Department of State Service (DSS) has tendered its investigation report on the alleged forgery of the exemption certificate issued by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Lawrence Oborawharievwo Ewhrudjakpo, revealing the certificate was altered.
KanyiDaily recalls that Ewhrudjakpo of the PDP was sworn in as deputy governor of the state when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) pronounced Douye Diri as the elected governor of the state following the Supreme Court judgment disqualifying the former governor-elect, David Lyon of the APC.
Before his swearing-in, Ewhrudjakpo, who was in the Senate representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District, was dragged before the court in Lugbe, Abuja on the allegation of presenting a forged NYSC Exemption Certificate with code No: 139708 dated Feb. 2, 1998, on his nomination form to INEC.
Challenging the election of Diri at the tribunal, the candidate of the Liberation Movement (LM) in the November 16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa, Vijah Opuama had petitioned the tribunal, alleging that Ewhrudjakpo submitted forged exemption certificate and documents that contained false information to INEC before the election.
An Abuja Area Court had in February ordered the DSS to investigate the forgery allegation against Ewhrudjakpo, based on a case instituted before the court by Benjamin Youdiowei, a chieftain of the APC in Bayelsa.
The report of the investigation was tendered on Monday, June 1, 2020, before the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Tribunal in Abuja by the agency’s Head of Legal Department, Abdulsalam Ibrahim.
Ibrahim, led in evidence by petitioner’s lawyer, Pius Danbe Pius, said:
“My lord, on the 22nd of February 2020, we received a letter from an Area Court in Lugbe, Abuja asking the DSS to investigate the NYSC exemption certificate of Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the present deputy governor of Bayelsa State.
“Based on the foregoing and the relevant documents forwarded to this service, it is evident that the subject altered the spelling of his surname to reflect the letter D as against the letter O in the certificate of exception earlier issued by NYSC.”
Ibrahim said his agency investigated by reaching out to the NYSC. He said the DG, NYSC wrote to the DG, DSS confirming an alteration in the surname in the exemption certificate issued Ewhrudjakpo.
However, under cross-examination by lawyer to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Emmanuel Enoidem, Ibrahim confirmed that the alteration in the certificate was effected by the NYSC upon the request by Ewhrudjakpo.
The DSS Head of Legal Department also agreed that the bearer of a name knows how best to spell his/her name.
Following the conclusion of Ibrahim’s testimony, the petitioner’s lawyer Pius Danbe Pius said his next witness is Ewhrudjakpo who has been subpoenaed to produce the original copy of the certificate of exemption.
The tribunal’s Chairman, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo, adjourned till Tuesday (June 2) for the hearing of a motion by Ewhrudjakpo, challenging his invitation as the petitioner’s witness.