A Benue State High Court, on Wednesday, granted an order restraining the state’s Commission of Inquiry from sitting pending the hearing and determination of a motion filed by the immediate past governor of the state, Samuel Ortom.
It will be recalled that the Benue State Governor, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, had set up two judicial commissions of inquiry into the funds (income and expenditure) of Benue State Government from May 29th, 2015, to May 28th, 2023.
Justice T. T Asua gave the order while ruling on a motion ex-parte seeking leave of court to issue the prerogative writ of Prohibition on the Benue State income and expenditure commission of inquiry from sitting or taking any action in respect of the terms of reference, paragraph 3(a)-(o), listed in the Benue State of Nigeria Gazette No.17, Vol.49 of 27th February 2024, by the Governor of Benue State.
Ortom’s counsel, Oba Maduabuchi (SAN) told the court that the grounds of the application are that, the Auditor General is imbued with powers under the 1999 Constitution(as amended) to investigate and probe the finances of the state.
Ortom’s counsel said that the Auditor General had already investigated, probed, audited, and certified the accounts of the Benue State Government and had submitted his reports to the Benue State House of Assembly as authorized by the 1999 constitution (as amended).
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He stated that the Benue State House of Assembly had also acted on the said report of the Auditor General, as also authorized by the constitution and all the terms of reference listed in paragraph 3(a)-(o)of the Benue State Gazette No. 17, Vol. 49 of 27th February 2024, have already been investigated and probed by the Auditor General, who wrote reports and submitted to the State Assembly, which also acted same.
Maduabuchi further stated that the said report of the Auditor General were published in several Benue State Gazettes, which are public documents.
According to him, in view of the above facts, the Governor of Benue State lacks the powers to constitute the Income and Expenditure Commission, and the Commission lacks the jurisdiction to sit and investigate matters listed as items in the gazette and the action of the governor constitute a gross abuse of office and vendetta.
Justice T. T Asua, however, granted the motion as prayed.
He stated that the applicant had shown sufficient interest in the matter to warrant a grant of the leave sought.
He added that the motion of notice shall be entered for hearing within 14 days after the grant of leave, pursuant to Order 40, Rule 5(4) of the Rules of the Court, and further restrained the commission of Inquiry from taking or further steps in respect of the matter to which the application relates until the motion on notice is heard and determined.

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