Former governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, has challenged the probe panel instituted by the incumbent governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, at the state High Court.
Ohakim is seeking a declaration that it is unconstitutional and illegal for the governor to set up the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on awards of contracts in the state from May 30, 2007 to May 29, 2011.
When the matter came up for hearing Wednesday, the defendants and their counsel were absent in court and the presiding judge, Justice Nonye Okoronkwo of the Imo State High Court ruled that the 3rd to 7th defendants be served through the secretary of the commission as it was observed that it was difficult to trace the said defendants.
Counsel to Ohakim, Dr. Livy Uzoukwu (SAN), J.T.U. Nnodum (SAN) and K.C.O. Njemanze (SAN) told the court how difficult it was to trace the defendants and upon application to that effect the court ruled in their favour to serve the original summons through the secretary of the commission.
Among other claims by the claimant were that the court should declare that the said Judicial Commission of Inquiry on award of contracts headed by the 3rd defendant (Justice Goddy Ahunihu) had no jurisdiction whatsoever to investigate or indict the claimant for alleged criminal offences.
It was also to seek a declaration that the document or report known as “Report on Imo State Account Reconciliation June 2007 to May 2011 submitted by the executive committee on account reconciliation December 2012,” which was accepted by the state government under the Ist defendant (Governor Rochas Okorocha) and which report indicted the claimant and/or his administration for alleged criminal offences without giving the claimant a hearing breached his right to fair hearing and is therefore unconstitutional, null and void.
The claimants also argued that the said executive committee of the state government which indicted the claimant or his administration for alleged criminal infractions lacks the competence or power to render such indictment.
He is also seeking the court to declare that the 1st and 2nd defendants having shown manifest bias and malice against the claimant by being part of the Imo State Executive Council that endorsed the “executive committee” report on reconciliation of the said account, any report that would be rendered or submitted by said Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by the 3rd defendant would not only receive a biased and perverted consideration by the state government but would transgress the claimant’s right to fair hearing. – THISDAY