Federal Court Of Appeal Declares Ikpeazu’s Tax Receipts Valid
A Federal High Court sitting in Owerri, the Imo State capital, has affirmed that the tax receipts presented by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for his screening as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2014 were neither fake nor falsified.
Ruling on Friday in a suit filed by one of the aspirants Friday Nwosu on the authenticity of the tax receipts, Justice A.I Allagoa dismissed the suit insisting that Governor Ikpeazu’s documents were authentic.
He maintained that Nwosu, who joined Sampson Uchechukwu Ogah, PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the case, was unable to convince the court in all material particular that the documents were forged and went ahead to throw the suit out.
The ruling has brought a new twist to the ongoing logjam in Abia State because of the last Monday ruling by an Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Okon Abang on the same tax receipts in a suit filed by another aspirant Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah.
Justice Abang in his ruling had upheld the suit in favour of Ogah saying the tax receipts presented by the governor was fake and ordered INEC to issue him with Certificate of Return and be sworn in immediately as governor.
But Governor Ikpeazu who expressed disgust at the ruling as well as the handing of the certificate by INEC in spite of his appeal on the ruling, sought reprieve from an Osisioma High Court which ordered that Ogah should not be sworn in.
Meanwhile, the Osisioma High Court, which earlier had granted Governor Ikpeazu reprieve by placing an order on the Chief Judge of Abia State and the President of the Customary Court of Appeal from performing any swearing in pending the determination of a suit brought before him, has extended the order to July 18.
Governor Ikpeazu had approached the Osisioma High court following the handing over of the Certificate of Return as governor of Abia State to Sampson Uchechukwu Ogah after an order by an Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Okon Abang.
Justice Abang had disqualified Governor Ikpeazu for allegedly presenting a fake tax receipt in the suit filed by Ogah, who came second in the governorship primary conducted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in December 2014 and ordered INEC to issue Ogah with a Certificate Of Return and that he be sworn in immediately.
Even though the ruling was appealed by the governor and served the relevant authorities involved, it was disregarded, forcing Governor Ikpeazu to run to the Osisioma High Court where a stay of execution was issued.
Speaking in Umuahia, the governor maintained that it was wrong for the will of the electorates to be trampled upon, insisting that democracy thrives on the will of the electorates who had discharged this will by electing him on April 11 and April 25, 2015.
He told a delegation from Ukwa/Ngwa that there was nothing for the people to be agitated over, saying that the mandate, which they freely gave, was still intact, adding that the plan to subvert the will of democracy had been thwarted.