Court fails to stop Amaechi’s probe

Justice Simeon Amadi of the Rivers State High Court on Thursday dismissed a suit filed by former Rivers State governor,  Rotimi Amaechi, challenging the constitution of the Justice Odedeji -led judicial commission of inquiry.

Amaechi’s successor, Governor Nyesom Wike constituted the commission to probe the sale of state assets by the immediate past administration.

Delivering judgment in suit number PHC/187/15 filed by former Governor Amaechi, Justice Amadi said the commission was not established to investigate the personal activities of the former governor, but set up to investigate previous actions of government as they affect the people of Rivers State.

He ruled that Governor Wike by the provisions of the law is empowered to establish the judicial commission of inquiry to investigate previous actions of government.

He said there is no law preventing a state government from finding out how its resources were expended.

He maintained that the former governor ‘‘cannot disburse and expend funds of the Rivers State government and turn around to claim that such powers belong to the National Assembly’’.

On the claim by the former governor that the 30 -day set aside for the sitting of the commission will deny him fair hearing,  the court held the days set aside have not breached Amaechi’s right to fair hearing.

The court noted that the former governor neither filed a memorandum before the commission not appear before it, hence he cannot complain that he was not given fair hearing.

Justice Amadi said the 30-days set aside is not sacrosanct, hence it could be extended.

The court further held that the suit by the former governor is speculative, ‘‘as he failed to prove the injuries that he suffered because of the setting up of the commission’’.

Justice Amadi held that contrary to Amaechi’s claims, the terms of reference of the judicial commission of inquiry did not accuse the former governor of any crime.

Justice Amadi said: “The judiciary is not only the last hope of the common man, but it is also the last hope of the mighty, movers and shakers of democracy.  Those who by the benevolence of the judiciary got to power should resist the temptation to emasculate the same judiciary”.

Commenting on the judgment,  Rivers State Attorney General,  Emmanuel Aguma, said the commission of inquiry can now sit, pointing out that it will be fair to all parties.

Counsel to Governor Nyesom Wike said the ruling of the court has proved that a claimant cannot jump to court to stop the legitimate business of a judicial commission of inquiry.

In her remarks, counsel to Rotimi Amaechi, Mrs Winifred Enyinnaya said the former governor will appeal the judgment.

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Written by Online Editor

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