Fake WAEC Certificate Syndicate Smashed, Leader Sent To Jail

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The long arm of the law has caught up with the leader of a syndicate that specialized in issuing fake West African Examination Council, WAEC, certificates, issued to secondary school leavers in Nigeria.

The alleged master forger, Kolawole Owoyele, who was first arraigned on May 23, appeared before Justice Ajoke Adepoju, of court 30, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court, Abuja on Wednesday and was remanded in prison custody, as no counsel appeared to defend him.

At the commencement of trial Wednesday, the prosecution counsel, Osuobeni akponimisingha, had told the court that he was ready to go on with proceedings by calling his witnesses but Justice Adepoju had to adjourn the case because the accused did not have legal representation.

The accused, who pleaded not guilty to the charged read to him, had told the judge that his lawyer was stuck in traffic on his way to court, but Justice Adepoju ordered that he be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the case to November 24, 2016. She, however, said that the lawyer could file for bail for the defendant before the adjournment date.

The police arrested the accused in May this year and he is being prosecuted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, on a two – count charge bothering on forgery.

The ICPC sought the help of the police to arrest Owoyele in May after receiving intelligence about the activities of a syndicate in Abuja that procures forged WAEC certificates for people.

When he was arrested, several incriminating items were found on the suspect including nine WAEC certificates –seven blank and two already issued to two people – with all already signed by chairman and registrar of WAEC.

Also recovered from Owoyele after a search of his house in Utako were two laptops, two iPads, two international passports – his own and another one belonging to Sulyman Olanrewaju Aremu – as well as a flash drive containing letterheads of the Federal Ministry of Education, a letter of introduction to the Kenyan Embassy in Nigeria in the name of one Dr Augustus Oluyemi Oke, among other documents.

In court documents exclusively obtained by the www.icirnigeria.org on Wednesday, Owoyele confessed to investigators that he had been in the business of issuing forged certificates to interested persons for a while and had given such fake documents to eight young Nigerians, some of whom he said had used them to secure visa to study in Malaysia.

In his written statement, the accused person said a man named Alery who used to come from Lagos supplied the fake certificates to him. He paid N2,000 for each forged certificate,

It was discovered that Owoyele forged WAEC certificates for two sets of clients. The first were those who for some reason wanted to make alterations on genuine certificates issued to them by the examination council.

For example, in his statement, Owoyele said one Nwokenna Emmanuel Adindu approached him to help alter the date of birth on his original WAEC certificate. He said the young man had had a hell of a time getting a visa and wanted the date of birth on the certificate changed from June 8, 1982 to October 10, 1980 so that it would correspond with the date on his international passport.

The accused said that another person, whom he named Obi Smart Ekenedilichukwu, also gave him a coloured photocopy of his original WAEC certificate so that he could make alterations, having lost the original.

The other set of clients that Owoyele had were people who simply wanted to purchase forged certificates for examinations they never took to seek employment, apply for visa or do other things that required tendering a school leaving certificate. Most of the blank certificates found on the accused were for this purpose, by his own confession.

The blank certificates, copies of which were obtained by the www.icirnigeria.org, look genuine and would be difficult to differentiate from real ones, except for the forged signatures of the council chairman and registrar. The seven copies which are now exhibits before the court already bear forged signatures of Evelyn Kandakai, chairman of the council and the treasurer, Iyi Uwadiae.

The certificate issued to Ekenedilichukwu purports that he left secondary school in June 2004 and that he was a brilliant student scoring As in three subjects (Economics, A3; English Language, A3 and Chemistry A3), Cs in four (Igbo language, C6; Mathematics, C5; Biology, C5 and Physics, C6). He had one pass, in Agricultural science.






     

     

    Count one of the charges against Owoyele reads:

    “That you Owoyele Kolawole (m) sometime in May, 2016 or thereabout at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court made false documents to wit “West African Senior School Certificate “empty/blank, with no student information on it with the intention that it may be filled with student information later which may be acted upon as genuine and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 363 and punishable under section 364 of the Penal Code CAP 532 Laws of the Federal capital territory, Abuja 2006.

    Count 2 reads:

    “That you Owoyele kolawole (M) sometime in may, 2016 or thereabout at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court had in your possession false documents to wit ”West African Senior School Certificates” empty/blank, with no student information on it with the intention that it may be acted upon as genuine and you hereby committed an offence contrary to Section 368 of the Penal Code CAP 532 Laws of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja 2006”

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