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Ex-Gov. Ikpeazu uses court to stop Abia panel set up to retrieve stolen govt property under him



A Federal High Court in Abuja has restrained the Abia State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Recovery of Government Properties and Funds from investigating former Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and other government officials who served in his administration.

The Panel which was inaugurated by Governor Alex Otti on June 27 and headed by Justice Florence Duruoha-Igwe, (rtd.), was tasked with the job of investigating and recovering government properties and funds allegedly looted by the former governor and other government officials.

But in granting an ex-parte motion filed by Ikpeazu and three other applicants, the president of the court, Justice E. Okpe issued an order restraining the panel from any further investigation.

Read also: Otti claims ex-Gov Ikpeazu shopping for court order to frustrate recovery of stolen govt assets

The ruling by Okpe read:

“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.”

But while reacting to the ruling,
Governor Otti said he was not yet aware of any court injunction by his predecessor to halt the on-going probe of his administration.

In a statement by his Media Adviser, Ferdinand Ekeoma, Otti said even if Ikpeazu had obtained such injunction, it would not stop the probe panel from carrying out its mandate because the government would challenge the judgement.

“We have not confirmed that at the moment. We have not confirmed the authenticity of any court injunction by the immediate past Governor,” Ekeoma.

“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.”

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