The Police headquarters have charged a 48-year-old lawyer, Boniface Ugwuowo, before a Federal High Court in Abuja over alleged forging of documents.
In a 12-count charge, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/256/2020, the police accused Ugwuowo of submitting forged documents to the Supreme Court to qualify him for the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Simon Lough, an assistant commissioner of police in the Legal/Prosecution Section, Force Headquarters, Abuja, filed the charge.
Application for the rank is highly competitive among lawyers in Nigeria in view of the privilege it confers on a bearer.
Ugwuowo, according to Lough, forged four documents marked SC/69/1998; SC/99/2004; SC/195/2011, and SC/322/2014.
The lawyer’s formal arraignment, scheduled for December 3, 2020, was put off due to the failure of the prosecution to produce him when the case was called in the court.
Justice Okon Abang, who was unhappy with the prosecution’s absence even when there was evidence that it was aware of the date, rescheduled the arraignment for February 23, 2021.
In relation to SC/69/1998, between P.C Mike Eze Vs Spring Bank PLC, he was said to have replaced the name of the actual lawyer – Chief Theodore A. Ezeobi (SAN) with his name at “page seven of the judgment of M.S. Muntaka-Coomssie; page four of the judgment of J.A. Fabiyi; page five of the judgment of Bode Rhodes-Vivour and page 21 of the judgment of Mahmud Mohammed, the front page and page three of the Supreme Court brief of argument.
According to 99/2004, the lawyer replaced the name of F.C.A Okoli, who appeared for the respondent in the case between Vab Petroleum Inc vs Mr. Mike Momah with his name “at page 23 of the judgment of Mary Peter-Odili; page two of the judgment of Olukayode Ariwoola and page two of the judgment of J.A. Fabiyi.
In SC/322/2014 between Chukwuemeka Agugua vs The State, he was alleged to have replaced the name of Ebenezer Obeya, who appeared for the appellant with his name “at page 29 of the judgment; the front page and page five of the Supreme Court brief of argument.
The lawyer was said to have also replaced the name of Audu Sani Esq, who appeared for the 2nd appellant in SC/195/201) between Sunday Offor and Anor vs The State, “at page 32 of the judgment; front page and page four of the Supreme Court brief of argument”.
Ugwuowo is said to have, by his acts, committed offences contrary to Section 1(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act CAP M17 LFN 2004.
Immediate past Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen had raised the alarm in 2018 that some desperate lawyers had developed the habit of submitting forged documents in their efforts to qualify for nomination for the rank of SAN.