Immediate past governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam has raised the alarm over the current probe of his administration, describing it as a witch hunt.
This is coming on the heels of the position held by Justice A O Onum that the commission of inquiry investigating the former governor of the state lacks the powers to issue summons and warrant of arrest, impose fine, commit for contempt and similarly or otherwise convict and commit anybody to prison.
Justice Onum, in his ruling in a case filed by the former Governor of Benue State, Dr Gabriel Suswam, challenging the legality of the panel set up by the administration of governor Ortom to probe him, held that the powers to issue the summons, warrant of arrest under Section 7(1)(d) of the law, (supra) with the aim of compelling attendance of a person before the commission, and with the likelihood of such a person being tried and punished by the commission, smacked the exercise of judicial powers.
The former governor through his lawyer, Chief Joseph Daudu, SAN, had written to the probe panel sitting in Makurdi that he would not appear before the Justice Margaret Kpojime Commission of Inquiry probing his former administration since he has gone to court to challenge the setting up of the commission.
Chief Daudu, SAN said that the former governor himself had approached the High Court in Makurdi to challenge the legality of the commission, and therefore, would not honour the invitation extended to him to appear before it by Wednesday this week.
The former NBA president in a three page letter addressed to the Justice Kpojime led panel of inquiry maintained that Dr Suswam has great respect for the chairman of the commission who is a serving Judge of the State High Court.
But the former governor accused other members of the commission of being card carrying members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and therefore, he was unlikely to get any fair hearing from such partisan members of the commission.
According to the former governor, the judicial commission set up by his successor, Governor Samuel Ortom, was designed to witch hunt him, adding that going by the several published statements of the governor, the commission had a pre- determined outcome which was to find him guilty.
“The governor of Benue State has repeatedly said he will send me to jail. That means that the outcome of the commission is already known to him,” he stated.
Dr Suswam advised the commission to approach the State Executive Council Secretariat to obtain records of all approvals given to projects executed by his administration since those approvals were carried out by the executive council.
He said, most of the information being sought from him by the judicial commission were available in the comprehensive handing over notes he presented to the state governor, adding that the issues raised in the letter of invitation which he saw in the media bothered on either mischief or ignorance of certain processes and procedures in the business of government.
The former governor is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over alleged fraud amounting to N3.1billion before a Federal High Court in Abuja.


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