Humiliation In Court As UDOM Loses Bid To Stop Essien Udim DPO From Testifying

The issue in contention before the Tribunal was whether a witness subpoenaed by the Court/Tribunal can in addition to tendering documents give oral testimony.

Okutekpa, SAN contended that where a witness is subpoenaed on the order of the Tribunal, such a witness besides tendering documents while in the witness box can also answer or throw more light on the documents he is tendering. He can do so in the open court without necessarily constituting an ambush on the respondent. He contended that Respondents will have the opportunity to cross examine the subpoenaed witness provided his testimony is not out of purview with the subject under trial. He cited Lasu vs Oeoyemi and Ibrahim vs Ogunleye as authority.

Respondents contended that they have no problem with the subpoenaed witnesses tendering documents but they object to giving oral evidence by the witness. If ever the witness should give oral evidence, then Petitioner has to go by way of paragraph 41 of the Electoral Act which provides for Motion supported by affidavit and a written address. By practice and procedure, documents not front loaded nor metioned or listed in the list of evidence alongside the Petition cannot be admitted after the expiration of the time line.

Okutepa, SAN argued that the witness was not a willing witness. He was compelled to appear and has a responsibility to tell the Tribunal what Petitioners had cupiously referred to in his Petition as within the knowledge of the Police. The Police is here to tender the information and evidence at their disposal and the Tribunal has a duty to hear him.

In its ruling, the Tribunal agreed with Okutepa, SAN and ruled that in addition to tendering documents, the witness can also testify.