Numerous readers have requested update on the tribunal matter between Chief Chris Nkwonta and Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South Senatorial Tribunal), AFN have out of its way to present to Abians the final sitting of the said matter.
Enjoy the sitting verbatim :
Chris Nkwonta vs. Enyinnaya Abaribe
Awa kalu for the Petitioner
LTC Eruba for the 1st Respondent
Uche ihediwa for 2nd Respondent
CK Uba for 3rd Respondent
R1 adopts his written address
R1 Starts : He starts that his emphasis is to draw the attention of the tribunal that the result published by the 3rd Respondent (INEC) is not in any form being affected by the evidence made by the witness of the petitioner’s exhibit tendered by the petitioner from the bar forms EC8Aii otherwise known as units results does not help the case of the petitioner as no witness called by the petitioner was lead to prove it as required by law.
Also the content of those documents especially to relate them to the aspect of their case for which the exhibits were tendered were not proved
As it were, the exhibits were dumped in court and no life was given to any of those exhibits by any of the witnesses as required by law .
Though an attempt was made by P. to seek to use those exhibits by way of analysis. These attempts did not meet with the requirements of law.
The law is straight, no matter how brilliant a counsel address is, it cannot substitute the requirements of evidence.
The result as declared by 3rd R. (INEC) was not affected by the submission of the learned counsel
The expert witness called by P has been sufficiently discredited as contained in the R1 Final written address
The expert witness was a misadventure. He was paid by P and he admitted that on oath. The tribunal should take his testimony with a pinch of salt. Even the analysis of the so called expert witness, the 1st R also won
R1 also submit that P did not through the trial plead any credible evidence to display the burden of proof of the allegation of crime pleaded by them especially as those allegations of crime forms the foundation of their case.
R1 therefore urge the tribunal to uphold the election of 1st R and dismiss the petition.
R2 adopts his final written address and urge the tribunal to dismiss the petition.
R2 Starts : He ask the tribunal to take notice of their list of authorities cited and raise two issues.
1st, on non compliance to the electoral act where P complained of non compliance, he has the duty to call evidence from such PU where there was non compliance. He cites authorities to back up his position.
There are 1093 PU in Abia South senatorial zone and P called evidence in just 31PU only.
P merely dumped documents across the bar. The entire P disposition contains allegation of crime and the law is that where crime in a petition cannot be separated with the civil allegations the burden of proof should be beyond reasonable doubt. P did not discharge the burden of proof in any of their allegations.
PW6 (the forensic expert) tendered what he called an expert report. The expert opinion must be in tandem with the Evidence Act. That’s all
R3 corrects some errors in his final written address and consequently adopts it
He urge the tribunal to dismiss the petition because the P have failed to prove their case. He submits and take his seat.
P make some corrections in his final written address and adopts it
P inform the tribunal that his final address is aimed at assisting the tribunal in reaching a just conclusion and as such he has five points to make.
1st point is on an order made by the tribunal on 25,the may 2015 and very comprehensive in scope
The order was for the parties to inspect sensitive electoral materials even forensically.
The tribunal made another order allowing P to make forensic examination of everything used in the election.
In line with the order made by the tribunal, P engaged the services of PW6 ( forensic expert) who tendered documents, exhibits from his assignment before the tribunal.
The results/report of the forensic result as ordered by the tribunal
The report remained unchallenged by any other report and non of the respondents took any step to inspect.
P ask the tribunal to accept the content of the forensic report (exhibit c) as arising from a court order.
2nd point concerns the validity of the pre-hearing session.
He drew the attention of the tribunal to the fact that the outcome of the pre hearing session is on Appeal court as the 1st & 2nd Respondents filled an appeal and the Appeal court had heard the matter and the judgement is still pending and what it means is that the tribunal is precluded from making any determination concerning the pre hearing session.
Thirdly for the tribunal to be a precedent making/creating one, it is on record that the 3rd R who has the statutory burden of defending the election filled a reply but refused to call any witness/evidence either oral or documentary.
They simply filled a reply without evidence
He cites a supreme court rule to buttress the point.
The supreme court held that filing pleading without evidence means that the pleading has been abandoned.
He also cite another recent supreme court ruling where the same ruling was upheld.
In this case it states that pleading cannot constitute evidence.
Going further he states, if the 3rd R whose duty is to defend the result fails to do so, it simply means that R1 & R2 has no case
Fourth point deals with dumping of evidence/documents as alleged by the respondents
He cites the Evidence and Electoral Acts 2011 to back up his case
Since the documents which came under the authority of the tribunal has been accepted which is a Certified True Copy CTC document/evidence of result no other evidence is mandatory
The supreme court ruled that documented evidence is higher than oral evidence
He cites an authority backing the claim
Even at that the respondents never brought any evidence to disprove the petitioner’s evidence
For the 1st and 2nd respondents to succeeded, they need the 3rd respondent and unfortunately for them the 3rd respondent abandoned the case
The case ends here
Judgement to be announced later