A Federal High Court sitting in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja has granted an exparte order restraining the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Recovery of Government Properties and Funds set up by Governor Alex Otti of Abia State from investigating former Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and officials who served under his administration.
Justice E. Okpe granted the injunction after an application for an ex-parte motion was brought before him by counsel to Ikpeazu and three other applicants, Mr. C. Enuka.
The order reads: Order of interim injunction restraining the Respondents…from inviting, summoning, interrogating, harassing, intimidating, arresting, detaining, seizing, any property belonging to the Applicants or otherwise dealing adversely in any manner with the Applicants, their children, any member of their families or any other person connected to the Applicants insofar as it relates to the Applicant’s tenure as public officers in the Abia State Government between 2015 – 2023, pending determination of the substantive Originating Motion on Notice”.
The court also “granted for departure from Order 43 Rule 3 (2) of the High Court of Federal Capital Territory (civil procedure) Rule 2018 directing that the interim orders granted herein shall not lapse until the hearing and determination of the Applicant’s substantive originating motion on notice”.
The matter was adjourned to August 15, 2023, for a hearing of the substantive suit.
Recall that Otti had on June 27, 2023, inaugurated a Panel of Inquiry on the Recovery of Government Properties and Funds headed by Justice Florence Duruoha-Igwe, rtd.
Gov. Alex Otti said that he was not yet aware of any court injunction by his predecessor, Okezie Ikpeazu, to halt the on-going probe of his administration.
Otti who spoke through his Media Adviser, Ferdinand Ekeoma, said that even if the former Governor had obtained such injunction, it would not fly because Government would challenge it.
“We have not confirmed that at the moment. We have not confirmed the authenticity of any court injunction by the immediate past Governor.
“But even if he has obtained any injunction, we will challenge it at the court because no legitimate Government can be stopped from probing someone who was suspected to have indulged on any act of illegality or financial malfeasance against the state.
“ If he has obtained any injunction, Government is confident that once that is challenged the court of law will definitely vacate such injunction. So, we are not bothered”.