Abia State Panel of Inquiry Seeks Supports From The Public

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Chairman of the Abia State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the recovery of Government properties and Funds, Hon Justice Florence Duruoha Igwe has appealed to the public to submit petitions and memorandas to enable the commission accomplish its intended goals.

Justice Duruoha-Igwe made the appeal, Tuesday,at the inaugural sitting of the panel held at the Office of the Wife of the Governor, Old Government House, Umuahia.

She called for maximum cooperation from petitioners, counsel, witnesses and the public to make for speedy disposal of matters brought before the committee.

Justice Duruoha-Igwe who reeled out the terms of reference of the panel said “members of the panel of inquiry shall exercise all powers with regards to obtaining evidence and conduct of the proceedings as provided by section 8 of the Commission of Inquiry Law Vol. 1 Cap 69, Laws of Abia State of Nigeria,2005”.

“This includes the power to summon any person in Nigeria to attend any sitting of the Panel to give evidence of produce any document or other thing in his possession and to examine him as a witness it require him to produce any document or other things in his possession, subject to all a just exceptions.

While noting that the task before the panel is both investigatory and advisory, Justice Duruoha-Igwe said the panel would not carry it’s duties as though it has already targeted or branded anyone as guilty.

In her words; “You will see that of task is both investigatory and advisory. It is important to mention that this panel of inquiry, though quasi-judical in nature, is not a court properly so called. Nobody is on trial; rather we are here to find out really happened to the funds and properties ( Moveable and immovable) of to be state between May, 2015- May,2023 and when we do, we shall lay it open and make credible recommendations to the Governor.

“We are mindful of the oath we took to discharge the duties devolving upon us faithfully and impartially. Ours is not an inquisition and so we shall not carry on as if we have already targeted and branded anybody as guilty.

Justice Duruoha-Igwe noted that the sittings would be public and would take place between Tuesdays and Thursdays and adjourned sitting till Tuesday, next week.

In his speech earlier, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Ikechukwu Uwanna said Abia has witnessed a lot of looting and noted that it is only by addressing these issues that the State would begin to make progress.

He called on the public to be bold to provide necessary information that would enable the panel succeeds and thanked the members of the panel for accepting to do the job.

In his reactions, the Chairman , Nigeria Bar Association, Umuahia, Barr. Jasper Ejimofor appealed to the Governor to review the terms of reference of the panel to extend to 2003, to accommodate all the alleged ills meted against the State government in form of looting of government property and appreciated the Governor for setting up the panel of inquiry.

The event feautured the swearing-in ceremony of the newly nominated member of the panel, Dr. Chukwuemeka Okwuonu, who replaces Mazi Ugochukwu Okoroafor.

 

The Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the recovery of Government Properties and funds, inuagurated by Governor Alex Otti on the 27th of June has its terms of reference to include; To recieve and examine complaints from individuals and corporate entities on the looting and/ or conversion of Government properties, funds and related matters from May 2015 to May 2023 and where necessary, make recommendations to the Governor for remedial measures or any other measures as appropriate among others.

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