Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and former Deputy Senate President, Ovie Augustine Omo-Agege, has owned up to the ‘purported conviction’ of forgery and fraud by a competent Court in California, the United States of America.
Omo-Agege, who is the 6th Respondent in the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Olorogun Barr. Kenneth Gbagi FNIM, OON in his reply to the final written address of Gbagi, dated 4th August 2023, however argued that the conviction has span over 10 years.
It would be recalled that documents obtained revealed how Omo-Agege, was suspended from practicing law in California, United States, over a case of forgery and fraud.
The document revealed that Omo-Agege committed the offence in 1995, and was found guilty and suspended from practicing for two years.
According to the USA court documents, Omo Agege was placed on probation and mandated to take a multi state professional responsibility examination before being admitted back to the US bar.
After being arrested, a four-count amended charge was filed against Omo-Agege in the Los Angeles County Superior Court with Case number BA111331.
The charge sheet partly reads, “Count 1 of said amended information alleged that on or about March 7, 1992, in the County of Los Angeles, respondent committed the crime of forgery of cheque in violation of Penal Code section 470, a felony.
According to the report, “The allegations continue that on or about the date referred to above, respondent signed the name of Elpert Defrietas to a cheque in the amount of $890 and attempted to pass said cheque as true and genuine knowing that said check was forged with the intent to defraud the Bank of America, Ahined Mahome and Elpert Defrietas.
“Count 2 of said amended information alleged that on or about March 7, 1993, in the County of Los Angeles, respondent committed the crime of perjury – application for driver’s license in violation of Penal Code section 118, a felony.
“The allegations continue that on or about said date, respondent certified that he had never applied for a California driver license or identification card, when in fact he had applied for license and been issued under the name Augustine Omoagege.”
The court concluded that Omo-Agege was guilty of the charges and convicted him for forgery on November 30, 1995.
But in a bid to ensure that Omo-Agege, was not disqualified by the three-man panel of Justices led by Justice H. C Ahuchaogu, at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba, the State capital, his counsels said: “More importantly, is that the Order of the purported conviction which the petitioners have erected their case against the 6th Respondent was decided on “November 30 1995“, as captured on the first sentence on page 26 of the petitioners final written address.
“The purported conviction has passed more than 10 years and cannot be the ground of disqualification under section 182(I)(e) of the 1999 Constitution which specifically limited the conviction which can warrant to a disqualification to a conviction”.
It would be recall that Gbagi, in his petition before the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Asaba, is seeking the disqualification of the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate, Ovie Augustine Omo-Agege and his Deputy, Friday Osanebi over alleged forgery, dishonesty and multiple/ pattern of misconduct.
Gbagi, in his petition filed on his behalf by Chief Chris Uche, Magaji Mato Ibrahim, Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and others, alleged that Omo-Agege and Osanebi made false claims in forms EC-9 submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said Omo-Agege, the APC governorship candidate and Osanebi, his running mate, who are the 6th and 7th Respondents respectively swore to false Affidavit in support of personal particulars in aid of their constitutional eligibility as Governor and Deputy Governor of Delta State but ended up lying under oath for the purpose of concealing the fact that they are not qualified to contest the election.
The renowned Criminologist revealed that both Omo-Agege and Osanebi, “applied to the 1st Respondent through the Law firm of Maduka LP and obtain the 6th and 7th Respondents’ Affidavit in support of personal particulars submitted in aid of their qualifications for election as Governor and Deputy Governor of Delta State respectively in 2023.
He said that in his INEC Form EC9, the 6th Respondent gave his name as Omo-Agege Ovie Augustine whereas in the same form in his West African Senior Secondary Certificate (WASSC), revealed the name as Agege Augustine.
According to Gbagi’s petition, the 6th Respondent, in the past three decades has “Chameleonically” changed his name as the circumstances and the situation suits him.
He said the name was “Omo-Agege Ovie Augustine, on 28th June 2022, in his INEC Form EC9, Agege Augustine, 1979, West African Senior School Certificate, Augustine Omoagege, August 1998, judgement of the Supreme Court of the State of California, United States of America in case No: 94-C-14401 MDM, Christopher Agege, Reginald Clark Bedney, January 1993, application for driver’s license in the State of New York, USA
Similarly, Gbagi said: “the 6th Respondent also presented himself in the United States of America, wherein he was admitted into the Bar of the State of California, on 14th December 1992, as Augustine Omo-Agege, a name distinct and different from the name used in his form EC9 under oath.
“All the documents remotely and closely related in his conviction in the United States of America, particularly the judgement of the Supreme Court of the State of California, are pleaded and same shall be relied upon during the trial of this petition.
“In the Supreme Court of the State of California in the United States of America, the 6th Respondent, was found guilty and convicted of the offences of perjury and impersonation wherein, in a bid to secure a driver’s license sometimes in 1993, listed his date of birth as May 10th 1965 and his name as Reginald Clark Bedney on the application and was issued with the Driver’s license No. C9768216355315621 in the State of New York on the basis of fake presentation made by the 6th Respondent.
“The 6th Respondent was convicted in the United States of America, for the offences of forgery, dishonesty and multiple/pattern of misconduct, a fact which he failed to disclose in his Form EC9 despite the express demand for him to do so”.
Gbagi, equally listed the sins of Osanebi, a former Deputy Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA), under the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) as the 7th Respondent did not include any educational credential because, same were nullified by a judgement of the Court of Appeal as forged documents.