Governor Okowa’s defence in the on-going Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Asaba suffered another setback yesterday as the tribunal rejected Okowa’s subpoena INEC witness document exhibits.
The All Progressive Congress (APC) and its gubernatorial candidate Olorogun O’tega Emerhor is challenging the declaration of Okowa as the winner of the governorship election held on April at the tribunal.
At the resumed hearing of the matter today, Okowa’s counsel, Dr. Alex Izyon (SAN), leading Mrs. Ehikhametalo Mecry, INEC staff working in Delta State office, had sort to tender four documents through her as exhibits.
Among documents that was tendered are: (A) Certify True Copy (CTC) of Card Reader Uploaded statue as at Thursday, April 16, 2015; (B) CTC of unit accreditation report yet to be uploaded for the governorship election as of April 16, 2015; (C) the notification of the APC governorship primary for December 2nd, 2014 and (D) the INEC report of the APC congress of December 4, 2015.
However Emerhor’s Counsel Chief Thomson Okpoko (SAN) objected to the admissibility of documents A and B, noting that they are computer generated, and that there is no evidence before the tribunal to show that the document sort to be tendered was produced by the witness.
He averred that the documents do not meet the mandatory requirements of section 84 subsection 2 of the evidence act and therefore cannot be admissible; he urged the court to reject it.
Okowa’s counsel, Dr. Izyon told the tribunal that they should rely on a similar ruling of the tribunal on September 7th, 2015 and allow documents to be admitted since they are relevant to the case.
In a short ruling, the 3man panel stated that, “we have no doubt in our minds that she seek to tender were document uploaded from the Card Reader severs, but there is no indication anywhere showing that the document the witness seeks to tender were data generated by computer and she now use computer to type it.
In view of our analysis above, we believe that our ruling of September 7th 2015 is not similar to this. We believe that the objections of Okpoko (SAN) to the admissibility of these documents are gamine. We believe that the two document seek to tender is computer generated document. There is nothing on the face of the document to show that it complied with section 84 of the evidence act. In view of this we hereby agree that the documents are not admissible and it is hereby rejected”.
However, a mild drama played out today when Mrs. Ehikhametalo Mercy, respondent witness contradicted herself from her earlier statement on oath that Card Read failed in many units, only to refute that under cross examination by the petitioner’s counsel.
Ehikhametalo had earlier claimed that Card Reader failed in many places she monitored at Isoko North, nonetheless under cross examination by Chief Okpoko admitted that contrary to her claim, the card reader worked well Delta state, during the governorship election.
She also stunned Okowa’s counsel when she could not give a definite answer when she was asked to identify INEC electoral guide line for the conduct, piqued by her silence, Dr. Izyon shouted on her to answer questions put to her, rattled by Izyon’s outburst she admitted to knowing what was contain in the guideline.