Full blown hearing into the examination malpractice charge the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, levelled against Senator Ademola Adeleke, kicked off before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday, with two prosecution witnesses, insisting they never saw the defendant in the exam hall.
Police had in a seven-count charge it entered before the court, alleged that Adeleke who was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the last Governorship candidate in Osun State, fraudulently registered and sat for the June/July 2017 Senior School Certificate Examination that held in February 2017.
Adeleke who was runner up in the September 22 gubernatorial election, was charged alongside his brother, Sikiru Adeleke, Alhaji Aregbesola Mufutau (Principal, Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, Ojo-Aro Osun State), Gbadamosi Thomas Ojo (school Registrar) and Dare Samuel Olutope (a teacher).
In the amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/156/2018, and dated December 15, 2018, Police, maintained that the Defendants committed examination malpractices by fraudulently, through impersonation, registering Adeleke and another Sikiru Adeleke, as students of Ojo-Aro Community Grammar School, in Ojo-Aro in Osun State, for the National Examination Council, NECO, June/July 2017 Senior School Certificate Examination.
However, at the opened hearing on Wednesday, the two witnesses, Buhari Moshood and Isamotu Funmilayo, who were supervisors during the said examination, denied seeing the Senator in the exam hall.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Simon Lough, the first witness, PW-1, Moshood, told the court that on June 21, 2017, while acting as supervisor, he saw five matured men among the students billed to participate in the NECO Exams.
The witness, who claimed to have been a teacher for 35 years, said he could only identify Adeleke’s brother, Sikiru who is the 2nd defendant, among the five matured men he saw participating in the English Language exam he supervised.
The PW-1 who however identified an exam paper bearing the name of Adeleke Ademola, insisted that he did not see the defendant on the seat in the exam hall, saying he did not challenge the adult persons in the examination hall because it was not his duty to do so.
While being cross-examined Senator Adeleke’s lawyer, Dr Alex Izinyon, SAN, the witness, said he would be surprised to see NECO issuing certificate to anybody who did not sit for the exams.
He admitted that the identities of all the students in their identification cards were in order, adding that no police was present in the school to confirm if indeed the lawmaker partook in the exams.
More so, the witness told the court that all the exams went well, maintaining that none of the candidates could impose himself on the school for the purpose of the examination.
Answering a question, the witness, admitted that he could not know all the students who sat for the examination and insisted there was no cheating during the exams he said was conducted in a free and fair manner.
On his part, the second witness, Funmilayo, who claimed to have been a teacher for 13 years, told the court that she supervised English Literature Paper on July 17, 2017, and that she saw two matured men in the exam hall but could only identify Adeleke’s brother as one of them.
She told the court that Sikiru sat quietly with his exams papers and conducted himself properly throughout the process.
Under cross examination, the witness also denied seeing Senator Adeleke in the exam hall.
She further told the court that the result of the exam belonging to Senator Adeleke, where he scored C5, was shown to her by the police at the State Investigation and Intelligence Bureau, Oshogbo, Osun State.
The second witness further told the court that the authorities of the school have the duty to register students for the exams.
She said exams she supervised was most peaceful as there was no exam malpractice throughout the period of her supervision.
Meantime, Justice Iyang Ekwo adjourned further hearing on the matter till April 2, 3 and 4 at the instance of the prosecution who told the court that he was deployed out of Abuja for the 2019 general elections.
Adeleke had earlier secured bail from the court on self recognizance, while the other defendants secured bail in the sum of N2million each.
However, trial Justice Ekwo compelled the embattled lawmaker to sign an undertaken to always attend his trial and not travel out of the country without permission.
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