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THOSE WHO WILL BE CHARGED FOR FORGERY – PARTICIPLES CRIMINIS

Dictum

In Agwuna V AG Federation (1995) 5 NWLR (Pt.396) 418, the Supreme Court per Iguh, JSC held as follows – “It is certainly not the law that it is only the person who manually writes or signs a forged document that may be convicted for forgery of the document. The position of the law is that all persons who are, participles criminis whether as principals in the first degree or as accessories before of after the fact to a crime are guilty of the offence and may be charged and convicted with [the] actual commission of the crime.”

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FORGERY MUST BE STRICTLY PROVED

It is trite law that forgery is a very serious imputation and needs to be pleaded with particularity and proved strictly. – NNAEMEKA-AGU, J.S.C. Finnih v. Imade (1992)

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HE WHO ASSERTS FORGERY MUST PROVE IT

The burden of proving the allegation of falsification and forgery is on the person asserting it, and must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

– Tijjani Abubakar JSC. APC v. Obaseki (2021)

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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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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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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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WHEN IS THE OFFENCE OF FORGERY ESTABLISHED?

The offence of forgery is committed or established where an accused person makes a false document and a document is said to be false or fake, if the whole or part of it is purported to have been made by or on behalf of respondent who did not actually make it or authorized it to be made. See Nathaniel vs State (2019) LPELR 40326 (CA) PP. 9 – 10. The law is trite as espoused in the case of Lambert vs FRN (2021) LPELR. 54672 (CA) that any person who is in possession of a forged document or issues same is guilty of committing the offence of forgery, even though he did not actually make it.

– PER I.S. BDLIYA, J.C.A. Barma v. State (2022) – CA/G/119c/2021

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