Governor Rochas Okorocha on Monday asked Justice Benjamin Iheaka of the Owerri High Court to uphold the impeachment of his impeached deputy, Eze Madumere.
At the resumed sitting, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Miletus Nlemadim, opposed the demand for hearing to commence into the matter as proposed by Madumere’s counsel, Ken Njemanze, SAN.
Urging the court to uphold Madumere’s impeachment, Nlemadim said the Chief Judge, Paschal Nnadi, acted in tandem with the constitutional provisions by constituting a seven-man panel to investigate the allegations levelled against Madumere by the state House of Assembly.
According to the Attorney General, the seven-man panel was not constituted within the seven days’ time frame due to an order of a high court in Abuja restraining the CJ from setting up the panel.
He reminded the court that the order was vacated by the same court on July 18, which empowered the CJ to constitute the panel two days after, July 20.
He said, “The panel sat accordingly, investigated the allegations against the Deputy Governor and gave a report. Based on the report of the panel, the Deputy Governor was impeached by the state House of Assembly.
Both the chief judge and members of the panel were not duly served the originating processes of the plaintiff.”
He urged the court to rely on the facts he presented to dismiss the suit and uphold the impeachment as carried out by the state legislature on July 31.
Counsel for Madumere urged the judge to declare the report of the seven-man panel illegal on the grounds that the state lawmakers undermined an order of the court.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said that the seven-man panel as set up by the CJ was not known by law, arguing that it was not constituted after seven days as it was enshrined in the constitution.
Njemanze said, “The chief judge does not have the right to set up the panel since there was a subsisting court order restraining him from setting up such a panel.”
He contended that since the restraining order was made, there was no other contrary order by any other court.
He said, “The report of the purported panellists fell short of standard as the document was neither signed nor were the panellists named in the report.”
The SAN prayed the court to declare Madumere’s impeachment on July 31 illegal and of no effect.
In fixing a date for the judgment, the presiding justice instructed all the parties to submit their phone numbers to the court to enable the court to communicate them a new date.