Drama as Buhari’s presidential panel sues Reps over planned probe

Daily Nigerian
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House of Reps, Buhari
House of Reps

The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property has sued the House of Representatives over the green chamber’s plan to investigate the legality of the panel’s operations.

A copy of the summons served on the house was made available to the newsmen on Monday in Abuja.

The other plaintiff in the matter is Okoi Obono-Obla, the Chairman of the panel while the other defendant is the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Activities of the Panel.

The suit, which was instituted by Festus Keyamo, SAN, raised five questions for the court to determine.

They are “Whether the resolution passed by the house on March 22 to set up the ad hoc committee to investigate the modus operandi of the panel is not tantamount to exercise of executive/supervisory power over the plaintiffs.

“Whether the resolution passed by the house to investigate the legality of the panel is not tantamount to the exercise of judicial powers over the panel and its chairman.

“If the answer to the first question is in the positive, whether by the provisions of Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution, the house and the committee are legally empowered to exercise executive/supervisory powers over the panel.

“If the answer to question two is in the positive, whether by provisions of Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution, the house and the committee are legally empowered to exercise judicial powers over the panel and its chairman.

“And, if the answer to questions three and four is in the negative, whether the letter written to the chairman of the panel on March 28, compelling him to forward certain documents to the committee is not illegal, null and void.”

The panel, therefore, urged the court to declare that the House’s March 22 resolution to set up the ad hoc committee to investigate its “modus operandi” was tantamount to exercise of executive/supervisory power over it.

The panel also asked the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the House from further taking any step against the plaintiff in respect of the resolution to investigate it.

The panel also wants the court to declare that by provisions of Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution, the house and the committee are not legally empowered to exercise judicial powers over it and its chairman.

In an affidavit deposed to by Yohanna Shankuk, a litigation clerk in Keyamo’s chambers, stated that the panel was constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He stated that the constitution of the panel was pursuant to the powers vested on the President by Section 1 of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act.

Mr Shankuk further deposed that the law, upon which the panel was set up and headed by the chairman, had not been repealed.

The deponent maintained that the panel believed that if the court did not intervene in the matter, the house would wrongly proceed to exercise its powers under Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution.

NAN