Enugu chicken impeachment: Panel refuses Deputy Governor’s request

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Aug 13th, 2014
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Sunday Onyebuchi

Sunday Onyebuchi

The 7-man impeachment panel constituted to probe allegations of misconduct against the Deputy Governor of Enugu State, Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi, on Tuesday turned down his (Onyebuchi) request to allow the media cover his testimony.

DailyPost recalls that Onyebuchi is being accused of rearing poultry at his official residence.

A source at the panel’s sitting told our correspondent that one of the counsels to the Deputy Governor, Mr. Peter Eze had on his behalf, requested for a media coverage of Onyebuchi’s testimony, so that the world would know his side of the story.

The Deputy Governor is expected to be led in evidence today, Wednesday, by his led counsel, Mr. Chris Aghanwa.

However, counsel to the State lawmakers, Mr. Ikeyi opposed the application for press to cover the evidence of the Deputy Governor on the ground that the Deputy Governor has made written response to the allegations and that it was published in the paper and that the only thing to be done at the panel was to add flesh to it.

Our source said he further told the panel that the media abused the earlier privilege given to it.

But the Deputy Governor’s counsel maintained that the response to the allegations published in the paper did not include the questions the Deputy Governor will be asked in the proceedings of this Panel.

Meanwhile, Mr. Samuel Odo, the driver to the Deputy Governor testified on Tuesday and told the Panel that he drove the Deputy Governor to Onitsha for the flag off of the second Niger Bridge on 13th March 2014 and that they arrived the venue at about 10:00 a.m.

Mr. Peter Eze informed the Panel that at about 1 pm, three security personnel attached to the Deputy Governor namely Insp. Joseph Obiekwe, Sgt. Sunday Agbabi and Sgt Tunde Ovbude were served the subpoena signed by the Panel.

He said that these persons said that the required permission from CSP Ogarebe, the Chief Security Officer to the Governor, before they could testify.

He said the security served with the subpoena refused to give evidence because their CSO refused to permit them to do so.

Eze referred the Panel to Rule 3(3)(g) and insists that the process of this Panel should not be treated lightly. He further refers the Panel to Rule 3(1), rule 3(3)(g) and says that the Panel has power to compel persons before it to testify. He submitted that the Panel ought not to overlook a flagrant disregard of its summons and directive by CSP. Ogarebe that a police officer should not testify is an insult to the Panel but leaves it to the Panel to handle the situation.

The Panel in its ruling held that the issue before it was whether it has power to compel a witness to appear or compel the person that appears to say something. It held that the Rule does not empower it to do so and that it cannot compel a witness before it to say anything.

Mr. Eze then applied that the matter be adjourned till today, Wednesday, so that the other persons who had been served with subpoena, namely, Chief of Staff to Governor Chime, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, Mr. Victor Atuonwu, Mr. B. S. Ede, would have the opportunity to answer to the subpoena and that if they did not answer, the Deputy Governor would then give evidence.

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