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DISTINCTION BETWEEN GRAMMATICAL & CRIMINAL FORGERY

Dictum

The word forgery is defined as an act of fraudulent making a false document or altering a real one to be used as if genuine. However, in ATUCHUKWU V. ADINDU (2011) LPELR – 3821 (CA), OGUNWUMIJU, JCA (as he then was) drew a distinction between grammatical and criminal forgery and held that the mere speculative observation of the respondent and her witness given flesh by the reasoning of the trial Judge cannot be substituted for conclusive and hard evidence of criminal forgery which must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, the case put forward before the trial Court deserved to be meticulously and reflectively analyzed in order to determine whether such a party has set out to establish the commission of a crime by anybody as would impose on him the necessity to establish a case of forgery beyond reasonable doubt. Now, looking at the circumstances of this case, it was not the case of the 1st and 2nd respondents that any named person had forged Exhibit 1. An examination of paragraph 4 of the statement of defence of 1st and 2nd defendants as well as paragraph 4 of the statement of oath of Chief Elias Ezenagu who testified as DW2 vis-a-vis Section 138 of the Evidence Act shows that the allegation of forgery was not made specifically to a party or against a party. Therefore, the case made by the 1st and 2nd respondents is not one of criminal forgery but that Exhibit 1 was a useless document on account that same was neither signed by the mortgagor nor the mortgagee.

— M.L. Shuaibu, JCA. FBN v Benlion (2021) – CA/C/31/2016

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FORGED CERTIFICATE IS WHEN CERTIFICATE IS NOT TRUE

If any fact vouched to be true turns out to be false, particularly deliberately false, then in my view the 1st respondent has presented to INEC a forged or false certificate: Dide v. Seleketimibi. — E. Eko JSC. PDP V. Biobarakumo Degi-Eremionyo (SC.1/2020, 13 Feb 2020)

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PROVING THE OFFENCE OF UTTERING

Indeed, to establish the offence of uttering, the prosecution must prove that (a) the document/writing was false; and (b) the false document was knowingly and fraudulently uttered.

— J.H. Sankey, JCA. Brila Energy Ltd. v. FRN (2018) – CA/L/658CA/2017

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TO PROVE FORGERY

It is trite that to prove forgery two documents must be produced that is (1) the document from with the forgery was made and (2) the forged document. In this petition apart from the Exhibits tendered through the subpoenaed witnesses no other document was produced by the Petitioners.

— K.M. Akano, J. Edeoga v Mbah (2023) – EPT/EN/GOV/01/2023

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FORGERY ARE CRIMINAL AND MUST BE PROVED BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT

Now, allegations bordering on forgery and/or making of false statement to INEC are not only criminal and grievous but are not matters or things one party alleges and then fold his hand akimbo to see how the other party wriggles out of it. Allegations of forgery and or false statements are not issues of mere discrepancies but of commission of crimes which must be proved beyond reasonable doubt by the person who makes the allegations.

– B.A. Georgewill, JCA. Ganiyu v. Oshoakpemhe & Ors. (2021) – CA/B/12A/2021

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FORGED DOCUMENT IN INTERMEDIATE STEP IN THE SCHEME OF FRAUD

The law is that where a document was used as an intermediate step in the scheme of fraud in which the accused is involved, if it shown that such a document, was false and was presented or uttered by an accused person in order to gain an advantage, an irresistible inference exists that either the accused forged the document with his own hand or procured someone to commit the forgery. It is therefore immaterial who actually forged a document so long as an accused person is a party to the forgery.

— J.H. Sankey, JCA. Brila Energy Ltd. v. FRN (2018) – CA/L/658CA/2017

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FORGED CERTIFICATE – HAS THE CANDIDATE PRESENTED A CERTIFICATE WHICH DOES NOT BELONG TO HIM?

If a person is alleged to have forged his certificate or qualifications or had made false statement to INEC, it must relate to whether he has presented certificates belonging to any other person, dead or alive, which does not belong to him or that he has arrogated to himself qualifications which he does not possess to make him qualified for the office he seek or had presented names that does not belong to him but to another person or that he has lied to the umpire, INEC, on matters in aid of his qualification and above all his intention the mens rea, must be that he had answered names not belonging to him but to another person or had forged his qualifications or age or made false statements in respect of the requirements of the law for purposes that the falsifications should be acted upon by INEC.

– B.A. Georgewill, JCA. Ganiyu v. Oshoakpemhe & Ors. (2021) – CA/B/12A/2021

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