The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, has dismissed claims he was convicted in the United States of America by the State Bar Court of the State of California, Los Angeles in 1996.
The lawmaker said he was alleged to have broken the law in California, and tried but in the end, was found not guilty.
His comment was in reaction to a statement by a civic group asking Mr Omo-Agege to resign after accusing him of perjury.
The group, led by Solomon Adodo, had faulted Mr Omo-Agege, for allegedly refusing to notify the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian Senate of his conviction in the USA, Vanguard Newspaper reports.
While the group called for a fresh prosecution against the lawmaker, it also threatened to stage a protest at the National Assembly if he fails to resign and the Delta Central Senatorial District seat declared vacant within the next 72 hours.
The group also referred to the mace-theft in April 2018 which the lawmaker was said to have masterminded. The group raised concerns that Mr Omo-Agege’s emergence as Deputy President of the Senate was a mockery of the 9th Assembly
“Incontrovertible documentary evidences available to us reveal that sometime in April 22, 1996, Augustine O. Omo-Agege believed to be one and the same Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege was ordered to be suspended from the practice of Law following his conviction for violating California Penal Code section 470, a felony criminal offense involving moral turpitude, under the authority of subdivision (a) of rule 951, California Rules of Court.
“Our scrupulous findings reveal that the said Augustine O. Omo-Agege was admitted into the State Bar of California on December 14, 1992. The records reveal that on or about March 7, 1992, the said Augustine O. Omo-Agege was alleged to have committed the crime of forgery of Check in violation of Penal code section 470, a felony. Furthermore, on or about March 7, 1993 the said Augustine O. Omo-Agege was alleged to have committed the crime of perjury-application for Driver’s license in the County of Los Angeles in violation of Penal code section 118, a felony.
“Following a lengthy prosecution of the said allegations levelled against Augustine O. Omo-Agege, he was convicted of violating California Penal code section 470 and was also subsequently suspended from the practice of law pending final disposition of the proceeding…”
“The said Mr Omo-Agege should be prevailed upon by the Nigerian Senate to resign from Office and his Senatorial Seat declared vacant.
“In the event that Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege hesitates in resigning from Office, impeachment proceedings should be immediately initiated against him in order to redeem the battered image of the Nigerian Senate,” the group said.
In his reaction, Mr Omo-Agege, who represents Delta Central Senatorial District, dismissed the allegations.
He said “he has been travelling freely to and within the United States as he was cleared of all charges in the said case and was never a convict in the USA as being alleged.”
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In a statement by his media aide, Yomi Odunuga, the lawmaker accused the group of attempting to drag his name into mud.
He said the call for his resignation over a “spurious and malicious allegation of conviction by a Californian court, was the latest act of political jobbers who were seeking to mislead gullible people with lies and propaganda.”
He also referred to an earlier publicised response to same allegation on September 25, 2018.
“The fact is, at a point in his brilliant and bright legal career in California, USA, Senator Omo-Agege, then a young attorney, was alleged to have broken the law in California but in the end, he was found not guilty.
“Accordingly, he was declared innocent by the honourable Lance A. Ito, who presided over the popular O.J. Simpson murder trial case and G. Magnera of the Court of California, County of Los Angeles. Omo-Agege had to fight hard for his innocence and God vindicated him against the expectations of evil men like the most sadistic blackmailer in the world.
“Today, he remains an active member in good standing at the State of California Bar Association – an impossibility if a valid and subsisting conviction were hanging on him. These are verifiable public facts and truths,” the statement read.
Not the first time
In September 2018, a similar allegation was levelled against the controversial official.
This was levelled by a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Delta State, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor.
Mr Emerhor not only accused the lawmaker of being convicted by a U.S court, he also claimed that the lawmaker was plotting to kill him.
At the time, Mr Omo-Agege gave a similar reaction to the allegations.