The Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on October 31, 2023 arraigned one Emmanuel Sanikpege before Justice P.I. Ajoku, of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State for forging a letter of attestation and presenting himself as a surety to bail one Umor Bright, a suspect under investigation by the EFCC.
Sanikpege was arraigned on two- count charges bordering on forgery, contrary to Section 1(2) (c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act (CAP M17 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and punishable under Section 1 (2) of the same Act.
One of the count charges reads: “That you Emmanuel Sanikpege on or about the 22nd day of August, 2022, at Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did make a forged document to wit: LETTER OF ATTESTATION RE: Emanuel Sanikpege purportedly from Government Senior Secondary School, Oyigbo, Rivers State, a document which you knew was forged; with intent that the document be acted upon by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as original and genuine; and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(2) (c) of the of the Miscellaneous Offences Act (CAP M17 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and punishable under Section 1 (2) of the same Act”.
The defendant pleaded “not guilty” when the charges were read to him.
In view of his plea, prosecution counsel, B. O. Agala prayed the court to fix a date for commencement of trial.
Meanwhile, defence counsel, T. Musa informed the court of a pending application to bail his client. He urged the court to grant the defendant bail to enable him to prepare for his trial.
Justice Ajoku thereafter granted the defendant bail in the sum of N1, 000,000.00 (One Million Naira) and two sureties in like sum. The sureties must be civil servants with Rivers State Government or Federal Government of Nigeria. The sureties must also be on grade level 12 and above and must own a landed property in Port Harcourt with certificates of occupancy to be deposited with the court. Also, the sureties should deposit two recent passport photographs each, or any means of identification with the court registry. The judge further ruled that the verification of the sureties be carried out by the EFCC.
The judge adjourned the matter to March 12, 2024 for commencement of trial and remanded the defendant in the Port Harcourt Correctional Service.
Sanikpege was arrested by the Commission in August, 2022 for alleged forgery. He allegedly presented himself as a surety for the bail of one Umor Bright, a suspect under investigation by the EFCC. To meet the bail conditions, Sanikpege purportedly forged and submitted a fake letter of attestation with a fake signature signed by the principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Oyigbo, Port Harcourt.