The Federal High Court in Abuja has giving a go ahead to a suit seeking the suspension and probe of Minister of State on Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.
A civil society group, Kingdom Rights Foundation International, had filed a suit on allegations of money laundering, operation of a foreign bank account, corruption and assets declaration irregularities against the Minister.
The enrolled order of the court bearing the stamp of the Federal High Court and the signature of the registrar with October 15, 2018 date, showed that Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo made the order on October 10.
The plaintiff, KHRFI, through its ex parte application filed on August 23, 2018, had sought the court’s leave to commence a suit seeking Kachikwu’s probe for the various allegations.
Also dragged alongside the Ministry were the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The plaintiff prayed the court, in the substantive suit, 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.
Lawyer to the plaintiff, Okere Nnamdi, moved 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 on any staff member of the ministry.”
Rather, the court ruled that “the first defendant (Kachikwu) is to be served personally.”
The judge then fixed October 24 for a report of service.