Court dismisses Suswan’s appeal to stop probe

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A High Court sitting in Benue on Monday dismissed the appeal of former governor of Benue state, Gabriel Suswam, to stop the probe instituted against him by Governor Samuel Ortom.

Governor Ortom had constituted an investigative panel to determine the actual state of indebtedness of the state and to verify government’s assets.

In part of its assignment, the commission was expected to make findings of those responsible for lease or allocation of real property belonging to the Benue Government public.

Following the set up of the investigative panel, Suswam dragged Ortom and the commission to court, seeking leave of the court to disband and set aside the Administrative Commission of Inquiry instituted against him.

The former governor said that the commission had no grounds of exercising such judicial powers and lacked constitutional powers to investigate or adjudicate upon the issues submitted to it for inquiry.

Also in his application, Suswan alleged that the commission was set up to witch-hunt and smear his name and destroy his legacy, claiming that his administration was transparent and rendered periodic account of its stewardship to the state.

The former governor argued that the resources of the state were judiciously used and that the impact could be seen all over the state, however, prayed the court to grant his application by quashing the commission.

Recalled that the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Iorhemen Hwande, had on October 12, ordered a stay of proceedings on the commission, following Suswam’s suit.

But in Monday’s verdict, Justice Adam Onum has vacated the order on the commission and ordered resumed sitting of the commission with immediate effect.

Onum ruled that the commission could issue letters of summon on individuals, but, agreed with the applicant that the commission was not vested with the power to issue warrant of arrest on anyone.