A former governor of Benue state, Mr Gabriel Suswam, on Monday lost his bid to stop the probe instituted against him by Gov. Samuel Ortom at the state’s High Court. Reports have it that Ortom constituted an investigative panel to determine the actual state of indebtedness of the state and to verify government’s assets.
Suswam had 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. He averred that the commission was incapable of exercising judicial powers and lacked constitutional powers to investigate or adjudicate upon the issues submitted to it for inquiry.
Reports also show that the commission was expected to make findings of those responsible for lease or allocation of real property belonging to the Benue Government public. Suswam in his application alleged that the commission was set up to witch-hunt and smear his name and destroy his legacy.
He had claimed that his administration was transparent and rendered periodic account of its stewardship to the state throughout his eight years in office. The former governor argued that the resources of the state were judiciously used and that the impact could be seen all over the state.
He, therefore, prayed the court to grant his application by quashing the commission. It will be recalled that the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Iorhemen Hwande, had on Oct. 12, ordered a stay of proceedings on the commission, following Suswam’s suit.
But giving his ruling on the suit on Monday, Justice Adam Onum, vacated the order on the commission and ordered resumed sitting of the commission with immediate effect. Onum declared that the commission could issue letters of summon on individuals.
He, however, agreed with the applicant that the commission was not vested with the power to issue warrant of arrest on anyone.