Saturday, 28 May 2016

Justice Kpojime Commission Of Inquiry, Court To Rule On Ex-Benue Official June 27

Justice Ahemba Ikpambese of a Makurdi High Court has fixed June 27, 2016 for ruling in a matter of enforcement of fundamental human rights brought by erstwhile Chairman of the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) in Benue State, Richard Gbande and two others.

The three were indicted by the Justice Kpojime Commission of Inquiry set up by Governor Samuel Ortom to probe the eight-year tenure of his predecessor, Gabriel Suswam, for his alleged involvement in the misappropriation of N1.27 billion local government training funds.

They had approached the court seeking among other reliefs, an order to quash from the records of the court proceedings, findings and recommendations of the commission because they were not given fair hearing.

Their application, according to Simon Orkumah, who appeared for the applicants, was brought pursuant to Section 46 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Order 2 Rules 10 and 11 of the Fundamental Human Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009.

According to Orkumah, misappropriation was a criminal offence and only a competent court of law has the jurisdiction to try offenders and not a commission.

He told reporters that his clients were only witnesses of the commission only for the commission to turn round and file charges against them, describing it as a violation of their rights.

However, counsel to the respondents, Prof. Anthony Ijohor (SAN), raised a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the application because it is incompetent. He argued that the order of certiorari sought by the appellant makes the application for enforcement of human rights, incompetent.

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