Abia Judicial Panel On Recovery Of Government Properties And Funds Begins Sitting

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The Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the Recovery of Government Properties and Funds belonging to Abia State Government has held its inaugural sitting with an appeal for members of the public to come forward with petitions and memoranda to assist the panel perform accordingly.

Speaking during the event held at the Office of the Wife of the Governor, Government House Annex, Umuahia, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Florence Duruoha-Igwe (rtd.) said the panel, though quasi judicial, is not a court and would work with petitions and memoranda supplied to it as well as give proper advice and recommendations to the Governor.

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According to the Chairman of the panel, Terms of Reference of the panel include;

(1) To receive and examine complaints and memoranda from individuals and other entity on the looting or conversion of government property, funds and related matters, and where necessary make recommendations to the government for remedial measures or any other measure as appropriate.

(2.) To examine and ascertain whether government’s moveable or imoveable assets and funds have been illegally acquired or occupied or converted to private use, and identify the person who is responsible and further make recommendations for recovering and appropriate sanctions.

(3.) The Governor further said the panel is to also ascertain the extent of allocations and revocations of lands in Abia State from May 2015 to May, 2023 and determine the propriety of such allocation or revocation or otherwise.

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(4.) Review the award and execution of contracts from May 2015 to May 2023 and ascertain if they were in conformity with the extant laws.

(5.) To investigate any other matter incidental or related to the foregoing terms of reference and make recommendations to the government based on their findings would be adhered to strictly.

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Justice Duruoha-Igwe disclosed that the panel shall excercise all it’s powers which include summoning anybody in Nigeria in a bid to discharge its duties and would not carry on as if they have already targeted and branded anybody as guilty. She said that the sittings would be public and would be taking place between Tuesdays and Thursdays. The sitting was later adjourned till Tuesday, next week.

In his speech, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Ikechukwu Uwanna said Abia has witnessed a lot of looting and noted that it is only by addressing these issues that the State would begin to make progress. He called on the public to be bold to provide necessary information to enable the panel succeed and thanked the members of the panel for accepting to do the job.

Earlier, the Chairman of the panel performed the swearing-in ceremony of the newly nominated member of the panel, Dr. Chukwuemeka Okwuonu, who replaces Mazi Ugochukwu Okoroafor. The Oath of Office and Allegiance were administered on him by Barr. Chibuzor Ehiemere.

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By Abia ThinkTank

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