By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The House of Representatives has been dragged to court by the Special Presidential Investigative Panel for Recovery of the Public Property, over its plan to investigate the legality of the panel’s operations.
The original summon with the number FHC/Abj/CS/374/2018 was premised on order 3 rule 6 and 7 of the federal high court(civil procedure) ruled 2007 and inherent jurisdiction of the court.
The Chairman of the panel, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla was mentioned as the Plaintiff while the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Activities of the Panel is the Defendant.
In the charge sheet which was signed by Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN) raised five questions for the determination of the court.
The suit cited by our correspondent want the court to determine 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.
Also in the suit, the Plaintiff want to know “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.
“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.”
After determining the afro-mentioned questions, 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.
Moreover, for 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 Mr 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.
Shankuk further deposed that the law, upon which the panel was set up and headed by the chairman, had not been repealed.
According to the affidavit, if the court refused to intervene in the matter the house will wrongly proceed to exercise it’s powers under Section 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution.