Tuesday, 15 August 2017

PLATEAU: JCI REPORT: COURT RESOLVES ALL QUESTIONS IN SEN. JANG’S ORIGINATING SUMMONS IN FAVOUR OF GOV. LALONG



By: Valentine Adese and Alfred Saiki,
 
Plateau State High Court, Presided over by Hon. Justice Pius Damulak has dismissed the Originating Summons filed by Sen. Jonah David Jang, representing Plateau North Senatorial District at the upper chambers of the National Assembly, which was seeking to restrain Governor Simon Lalong, from publishing the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry (JCI) instituted to investigate all the financial transactions entered into within his eight years in office, as the governor of the state, from 29th May 2007 to 29th May 2015.
 
L-R: SEN. JANG AND GOV. LALONG
The Court also resolved all the 11 questions in the Originating Summons in favour of Governor Simon Lalong and Nine (9) other Defendants in the suit.

More also, the court has Ordered that Sen. Jang should pay the sum of N3.4million to the Defendants as cost.


The Court ordered that, N400,000.00 should be paid to Governor Lalong, N1Million to the Plateau state Government and the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice of the State, Hon. Jonathan Mawuyau (Esq) respectively.

In its ruling, while ruling on the 11 questions in the Originating Summons, Justice Damulak held that, Governor Lalong has powers to investigate any matter in any department or agency of the state according to Laws of Northern Nigeria and that the Judicial Commission of Inquiry (JCI) was established according to law.

Dismissing the Suit and refusing the reliefs sought by Jang, Justice Damulak held that, no evidence of criminality against the Plaintiff (Jang) is before him and hence his action was premature.

Justice Damulak said, “No evidence of indictment of the Plaintiff is before me, it is speculative and therefore discloses no cause of action. The Plaintiff’s action is hereby dismissed and the reliefs, refused.”

It is however of note that, the Plaintiff (Sen. Jang) and his Counsel were not in Court at the time of delivering this ruling today. You would also recall that the Plateau state High Court is on Vacation.

For the record, the questions the court Determined are as follows::
QUESTIONS FOR DETERMINATION
           
1.                  Having regards to Paragraph 1 of the Instrument establishing and constituting the 4th – 9th Defendants containing the terms of reference, Plateau State Notice No. 1 and Sections 1(3), 6(6)(a), 35(1)(c) and 36(1),(4),(6) and (11) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), whether the 4th – 9th Defendants can ascertain, entertain, hear and/or determine any Memorandum, Petition or any other process bordering on or containing criminal allegations, imputations or inferences.

2.                  Having regards to the provisions of Sections 1(3), 6(6)(a), 35(1)(c) and 36(1),(4),(6) and (11) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), whether the proceedings, ascertainment, hearing and/or determination by the 4th – 9th Defendants of Memorandum No. JCI/64/2016 by Njin Gyara or any other Memorandum, Petition or any other process bordering on allegations of “fictitious” award of contracts, misappropriation of public funds, fraud, cheating, violations of the Public Procurement Act or any other offence howsoever called is not a nullity, unconstitutional and void.

3.                  Having regard to the provisions of Sections 7(c) and 8(1) of the Commission of Inquiry Law, 1963, stipulating powers exercisable only by a Commissioner, whether the Summons purportedly issued under the hand of a “Registrar” dated 26th September, 2016, directing the Plaintiff to attend the Commission on 11th October, 2016, or the Memorandum No. JCI/64/2016 by Njin Gyara or any other Memorandum, Petition, Summons or process issued under the hand of a Registrar or any other person not being a Commissioner so appointed by the Instrument establishing and constituting the 4th – 9th Defendants is not null and void.

4.                  Having regard to the provisions of Order 7 Rule 1 of the Plateau State Judicial Commission of Inquiry (Activities of Government Between 2007 to 2015) Rules, 2016, whether any proceedings, hearing and determination of any matter or consideration of any matter by the 4th – 9th Defendants, in the absence of any Memorandum or Memoranda or registration of interest to make oral submission properly filed before or submitted to the Commission; is not invalid, null and void.

5.                  Whether Order 5 Rule 2 of the Plateau State Judicial Commission of Inquiry (Activities of Government Between 2007 to 2015) Rules, 2016, dispensing with personal service of Memoranda or Petitions or any other originating processes issued by the 4th Defendant is not unconstitutional, null and void for being in breach of the provisions of Section 36(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

6.                  Whether the service of any Memorandum, Petition or any other originating process not effected personally or in furtherance or pursuant to an order of the Commission of Inquiry for substituted service duly sought and obtained is not invalid.

7.                  Having regard to Sections 2(1) and 6(1) of the Commission of Inquiry Law, 1963 and Paragraph 4 of the Instrument establishing and constituting the 4th – 9th Defendants, Plateau State Notice No. 1, whether the Rules of Procedure for the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the activities of the Government of Plateau State of Nigeria from 29th day of May, 2007, to 29th day of May, 2015, issued solely under the hand of the 5th Defendant dated 5th October, 2016, is not invalid, null and void.

8.                  Whether in view of the provisions of Section 58 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, the 4th – 9th Defendants have the powers to entertain and determine the allegations contained in Memorandum No. JCI/64/2016: Memo by Njin Gyara or any other Memorandum or Petition or process issued by the 4th Defendant whatsoever related to matters provided for under the Public Procurement Act, 2007, is not ultra vires the powers of the 4th – 9th Defendants.

9.                  Having to regard to the provisions of Sections 4(3) and Item 23 of the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), whether Section 7 of the Commission of Inquiry Law, 1963, dealing with matters of evidence or receipt of evidence is not inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and to the extent of its inconsistency null and void.

10.             Having regard to the provisions of Section 10 of the Commission of Inquiry Law, 1963, whether any evidence taken by the 4th – 9th Defendants during its proceedings, any recommendations made thereto or any report issued in respect thereof shall be admissible against the Plaintiff or used to indict the Plaintiff or indeed any other person in any civil or criminal proceedings whatsoever.

11.             Having regard to the provisions of Sections 7(c) and 8(1) of the Commission of Inquiry Law, 1963, stipulating powers exercisable only by a Commissioner, whether the Letter dated 17th November, 2016, addressed to the Plaintiff and signed by the 10th Defendant directing the Plaintiff to attend the Commission on the 21st November, 2016, for clarification of the matters listed in the said Letter, not being a letter issued by any of the 5th to 9th Defendants or any other letter or process not issued by the 5th – 9th Defendants, as well as any proceedings, hearing and determination by the 4th – 9th Defendants of any matter or consideration of the said letter or pursuant to any other process issued by any person other than the 5th – 9th Defendants; is not null and void.

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