Kogi Assembly recommends removal of Chief Judge

Kogi House of Assembly on Tuesday recommended the removal of the state Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah over alleged gross misconduct including financial breaches.

This followed the adoption of the report and recommendations of the House Committee on Public Accounts.

The House said that the recommendation was based on the State Auditor General’s Report on 2016 Financial Statements.

Presenting the report, Chairman of the committee, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed (APC-Ankpa I) said that the Chief Judge should step aside to defend himself over the alleged indictment by the Auditor-General of the state.

Mohammed said the Public Accounts Committee was set up in line with Section 103 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) at the plenary on Monday.

The committee, according to him, was mandated to investigate reported cases of financial breaches, noncompliance with financial regulations and poor handling of financial records by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the state government.

He said that Kogi State Judiciary was said to have expended its budget in December 2016 above the approved limits provided.

Mohammed said the expansion came under some subheading as contained in the 2016 Appropriation Law to the tune of N7, 574, 850 without the approval of its application.

“It was also reported by the State Auditor-General that Kogi State High Court made huge cash withdrawal to the tune of N137.607,334 million.

“The cash was withdrawn from High Court Bank account in the year under review,’’ he said.

This transaction breached the provisions of chapter 6, regulation 632 which stipulates that `the use of cash for payment is prohibited.’

The committee, therefore, recommended the removal of the Chief Judge for gross misconduct or in the alternative, he should step aside pending his appearance before the House Committee on Public Accounts to defend himself.

It also recommended that the Chief Registrar, on the other hand, should be referred to the state Judicial Service Commission for disciplinary action.

The committee said that the state government should commence immediate payment of judicial staff salaries.

The Majority Leader of the House, Abdullahi Hassan-Balogun (APC-Ajaokuta) moved for the adoption of the report and was seconded by the Deputy Minority Leader, Oluwatoyin Lawal (PDP-Yagba-West).

Haruna Musa (APC-Idah), in his contribution, urged the House to take cognisance of a subsisting court order on the impasse between the House and the Judiciary and be guided adequately.

In his contribution, the Chief Whip, Mr Victor Adewale Omofaiye (APC-Ijumu) urged that efforts should be made to pay a staff of the judiciary the nine months’ salary arrears while the investigation went on.

Speaker of the House, Prince Matthew Kolawole adopted the report adding that the recommendations followed majority votes by members present at plenary.

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