Elombah.com is on possession of the Senate Committee report that recommended that the Senate refrains from approving the nomination of the former Rivers state governor as minister. Please read the unedited committee report below:
Federal republic of Nigeria
Committee on ethics, privileges & Public petitions
Report of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions in Respect of a Petition from Mr. Livingstone Wechie against the Presentation of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as a ministerial nominee for rivers state on grounds of corruption, criminal, breach of trust, unlawful enrichment and conversation of over 70 billion naira of river peoples’ monies by former governor.
The senate federal republic of Nigeria committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions in respect of a petition from Mr. Livingstone Wechie against the presentation of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as a ministerial nominee for river state on grounds of 70 billion naira of rivers peoples’ monies by the former governor.
the senate would recall that on Wednesday, 7th October 2015, rising on order 41, senator George Sekibo (rivers east) o n behalf of two other senators from rivers state, drew the attention of the senate to a petition from Mr. Livingstone Wechie, on behalf of the integrity group, alleging cases of fraud against the former governor of rivers state, rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and urged the senate to urgently look into the matter.
In line with order 41 (3) the senate referred the matter to the senate committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions for detailed investigation to report back on Tuesday 13th October 2015.
2.0 Membership of the committee
1. SENATOR SAMUEL ANYANWU CHAIRMAN
2. SENATOR BALA IBN NA’ALLAH VICE-CHAIRMAN
3. SENATOR MOHAMMED SHITU MEMBER
4. SENATOR OMOGUNWA YELE MEMBER
5. SENATOR PETER NWAOBOSHI MEMBER
6. SENATOR OLAKA NWOGU MEMBER
7. SENATOR JEREMIAH USENI MEMBER
8. SENATOR OBINNA OGBA MEMBER
9. SENATOR DINO MELAYE MEMBER
10. SENATOR OMOTAYO ALASOADURA MEMBER
11. SENATOR BINTA GARBA MEMBER
Freedom Osholo Clerk To The Committee
3.0 committee action
Following the senate resolution and referral, the committee met and agreed that the following benchmarks should guide it in addressing the matter.
a) The constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended);
b) The senate standing order 2015 (as amended);
c) The principle of equity, fairness and justice; and
d) The public service rules;
The committee also resolved that the following parties be invited:
1. The petitioner, Livingstone Wechie; and
2. The Ministerial nominee, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
The committee listened to oral testimonies and received written submission from the following:
4.1 The petitioner, Mr. Livingstone Wechie said that from details of various wrong doings available to him, which he stated in his petition, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi should not be accepted for screening by the senate as ministerial nominee from rivers state, and urged the senate to drop his nomination and request mr. president to provide another nominee from rivers state. He also insisted that the senate should ensure that Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is prosecuted.
4.2 THE ministerial nominee Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi
Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi testified that the matter before the committee was actually in an appeal court and that the court was yet to sit and pass judgement on the case. He further testified that he went to a high court in rivers state earlier challenging the impartiality and competence of the rivers state judicial commission of inquiry to exercise the powers to summon, investigate and prosecute, and punish him, and sought for an injunction from the high court to restrain the judicial commission of inquiry from further investigation of the matter insisting that it lacked such powers.
However, the high court dismissed the relief sought, and stated that judicial commission of inquiry had power under the constitution to summon, investigate and declare findings, but lacked power to pass judgement and punish, and so, refused to grant relief that further hearing of the case is suspended. Thereafter, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi took the case to the court of appeal seeking to quash the decision of the state high court.
a) As investigation of the matter progressed, additional important document which addressed the case from various positions were also tendered before the committee and these were also taken into consideration in drawing the recommendation of the committee. The documents include :
i) a letter from the office of attorney general and commissioner of justice of river state forwarding the report (white paper) of the judicial commission of inquiry for the investigation of the administration of governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on the sale of valued assets of rivers state and other related matters under the chairmanship of hon. Justice George Otakpo Omereji dated October 8th 2015.
ii) The rulings/judgement (dated 20th august, 2015) of the rivers state high court by hon. Justice S.C. Amadi (judge) which rejected the relief sought (to declare that the judicial commission of inquiry lacks the powers to investigate and make findings known), and therefore dismissed suit.
iii) Three different letters from Edward and William (a firm of legal practitioners) on behalf of the ministerial nominee as follows:
1. A letter that the ministerial nominee rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi could not appear at the committee hearing because of the constraint that the matter was in court, since whatever he might say at the committee would be seen pre-judicial to court judgment. The letter was dated 8th October, 2015.
2. A letter to counter the contents of the judicial commission of inquiry white paper dated 12th October 2015
3. A letter to discountenance the contents of the petition by Mr. Livingstone Wechie dated 9th October 2015.
iv) Notice of summons from the high court of the federal capital territory submitted the committee on 20th October 2015, summoning the senate president and the senate of national assembly to appear before it. The suit cease to clarify the position of the law as whether the senate can screen, consider, ratify, accept, approve or confirm an indicted ministerial nominee.
b) The committee also observed that:
i) Whether neither the senate nor the presenter knew that the matter being presented on the floor of the senate was already a subject of litigation I n the appeal court in port-Harcourt.
ii) Since the matter is already a subject of litigation in a competent court of law and since the senate could not work contrary to its own rules (order 41 (7)), it is constrained in taking any further action.
Following from the discovery that the matter before the senate is actually before a competent court of law, the committee accordingly recommends as follows:
a) That the ministerial nominee had gone to the court of appeal to challenge the content of the petition and the white paper of the judicial commission of inquiry, the senate is unable to recommend the consideration of his confirmation.
b) That senate does consider and adopt the recommendation as proposed by the committee.
Mr President, distinguished colleagues, the committee wishes to thank the senate president and my distinguished senators for your support and the opportunity to serve our dear nation in this capacity. Thank you and God bless.
1. Senator Samuel Anyanwa Chairman
2. Senator Bala Ibn Na’allah Vice-Chairman
3. Senator Mohammed Shitu Member
4. Senator Omogunwa Yele Member
5. Senator Peter Nwaoboshi Member
6. Senator Olaka Nwogu Member
7. Senator Jeremiah Useni Member
8. Senator Obinna Ogba Member
9. Senator Dino Melaye Member
10. Senator Omotayo Alasoadura Member
11. Senator Binta Garba Member
The full documents will be posted soon…
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