An official of the University of Ibadan on Tuesday explained why Godwin Obaseki’s certificate looked like a forgery.
Abayomi Ajayi, a deputy registrar, legal of the University of Ibadan and a defence witness said Obaseki’s certificate appeared like a forgery because of the size of photocopy paper used.
They spoke as the governor began his defence of the certificate forgery case brought against him at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Mr. Ajayi, who appeared as the defendant’s second witness admitted that the certificate presented by Obaseki to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC was cut out because the photocopy could not capture the whole certificate.
Asked if the certificate presented by Obaseki was forged, he said: “I will not regard it as forged, but I will regard it as an incomplete photocopy.”
“This is because the certificate issued by the University is larger than the paper size on which the photocopy was done. In the process, the date of issue and signature of the Registrar, S. J. Okudu was cut off, likewise the signature of the then Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tekena Tamuno.”
In further explaining why Obaseki’s certificate appeared to look like a forgery, the witness tendered three different versions of a Bachelor of Arts degree belonging to another student, which the school photocopied in A3, A4 and A5 papers, to buttress the point.
Obaseki had earlier through his first witness, DW-1, Mr. Charity Aguobawekhina, a legal practitioner, tendered original copies of his certificates from primary school to university before the court.
However, the plaintiff counsel opposed the admission of Obaseki’s University of Ibadan certificate through their lead counsel, Akin Olujimi.
“My Lord, we are objecting to the original copy of the University of Ibadan degree certificate. It was not frontloaded. We reserve our full argument on the objection until our final address.
“To be fair to the first defendant, we will not be objecting to the admissibility of the Pace University certificate”, Olujimi said.
Explaining how the names of the registrar and the vice-chancellor were left out of Obaseki’s University certificate,
Mr. Aguobawekhina who appeared for Obaseki told the court that he was responsible for photocopying Obaseki’s certificate that was attached to the INEC nomination form.
According to him, the photocopy was made from Obaseki’s original certificate. Explaining why Obaseki’s certificate looked like a forgery, he said the signature of the Registrar of the University of Ibadan and the date the certificate was issued did not reflect in the photocopy, the witness said:
“It is true my lord that part of Exhibit D4 was not captured by the photocopier, ostensibly because the size of the original certificate is bigger than the A4 paper that was used. “It was not only the date and signature of the Registrar that were cut off, but even the signature of the Vice-Chancellor also was not fully reproduced in the photocopy that was attached to the Form EC9 as it was not fully captured by the photocopying machine.
“What was, however, captured by the photocopier was a direct reflection of the original copy of the certificate. It is not true that the photocopy of the University of Ibadan certificate of the first defendant attached to the Form EC9 was forged.
“I did not forge the photocopy of the 1st Defendant’s degree certificate.
“Apart from being a political associate of the first defendant, I double as his informal adviser on matters of this nature. So when he was going to Abuja to fill his Form EC9, I accompanied him.
“So, while he was filling the Nomination Form, he asked me to make photocopies of all the documents attached to the said form, including Exhibit D4.
“I made five copies each and attached one set of each to the form already filled by him. We then went to the FCT High Court Abuja where the first defendant deposed to an oath before the Commissioner of oath.
“We then came back to the PDP Secretariat where the documents were submitted to the National Secretary of the party, who uploaded them to INEC server by scanning. I was there.
“I did not know that the photocopy did not reflect all the parts of the certificate until it became an issue”, the witness said.
The case continues on Wednesday.