Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court, on Tuesday, gave a civil society group, the Kingdom Rights Foundation International, the go-ahead to bring a suit containing allegations of money laundering, operation of a foreign bank account, corruption and assets declaration irregularities against the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.
The Order, which contained the stamp and seal of the Federal High Court, was made by Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo.
The group had, via an Ex-Parte application filed on August 23, 2018, sought the court’s leave to commence a suit seeking Kachikwu’s probe for the various allegations.
In the substantive suit, Kachikwu was sued alongside the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN).
KHRFI had asked the court to conduct a judicial review of the administrative action/inaction of the Defendants to perform their constitutional and statutory mandates and obligations in connection with the investigation and prosecution of Kachikwu.
Counsel on behalf of the plaintiff’s lawyer, Okere Nnamdi, move the ex parte application seeking leave to commence the suit on October 10.
Granting the request in her ruling,
Justice Ogunbanjo held, “Leave is granted to the plaintiff/applicant to commence action for judicial review of administrative action/inaction to perform their constitutional and statutory mandate and obligation under section 174(1), (2), and (3) of the 1999 Constitution, sections 3 and 24 (2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, CAP C15, Laws of the Federation 2004, and in section 5(1) of the EFCC Act, to investigate and prosecute Dr. Ibe Emmanuel Kachikwu, on allegations of money laundering, operation of foreign bank account while occupying a public office, corruption, false declaration of assets, perjury and abuse of office, contrary to the Code of Conduct for Public Officers provided under paragraphs 1, 2 and 11(1) and (2) of the Fifth Schedule, Part I of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).”
The judge also made an order deeming the plaintiff’s originating summons (the main suit) filed alongside the ex parte as “properly filed under Order 34 Rule 5(1) of the rules of the court.”
But the judge declined to grant the applicant’s request that Kachikwu should be served with the court papers through “the most senior staff member in the registry of any staff member of the ministry.”