The Deputy Governor of Taraba State, Sani Abubakar, on Saturday challenged the competence of the panel investigating allegations of gross misconduct against him.
The Judicial Panel of Inquiry was set up by the state Acting Chief Judge, Josephine Tuktur, to investigate the allegations by the state House of Assembly, which is seeking to impeach the deputy governor.
Mr. Abubakar’s counsel, Yunusa Usman, at the panel seating, said the panel was not properly constituted and was therefore not competent to investigate the allegations against his client.
He said the acting Chief Judge, who constituted the panel, had over stayed the statutory three months provided by law to hold the office in acting capacity.
Mr. Usman also alleged that a member of the panel, Aisha Mohammed, had been indicted by a judicial commission set up by the present state administration.
The counsel said he was appearing under protest, adding that his client had filed a case at the Taraba State High Court in Jalingo, challenging the constitutionality of the entire impeachment process.
“We have also filed another originating summons No TRSG/82/2012 of 25/09/2012 challenging the competence and jurisdiction of the panel itself where the chairman and all the members are made parties and defendants.
“I want to bring to the attention of this tribunal that we also have filed motion on notice and injunctions restraining all defendants including your honourable selves from proceeding with this inquiry pending the intervention of the court.”
The prosecution counsel, Elijah Nyaro, however, objected to the admissibility of all the documents presented by the defence, saying that the proper procedure was not followed.
Ruling on the matter, the Chairman of the panel, Nasiru Dangeri, said that the panel did not constitute itself hence it was not competent to adjudicate over the integrity of its own members.
He also held that all the court processes sought to be tendered by the defence counsel were mere rumour, as the panel has not been served by the court.
“We shall do what is right as soon as we are served with the court order,” he added.
After taking testimonies from five prosecution witnesses, the panel adjourned sitting to Oct. 3, for continuation of hearing.
The sitting witnessed a large turnout of people, including the deputy governor, speaker of the assembly, and other legislators.
Mr. Abubakar was served with an impeachment notice by the Assembly on September 4. He was accused of gross misconduct and engaging in private businesses (http://www.premiumtimesng.com/