The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has declined an ex-parte application seeking to stop the Senate’s ongoing probe into the controversial recall of fugitive ex-pension task force chief, Abdulrasheed Maina.
An ex-parte decision is one decided by a judge without requiring all of the parties to the controversy to be present.
The application filed by Nigeria’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, had among other issues contended that the Senate lacked the powers to proceed with its investigation into Mr. Maina’s recall by the executive arm of government.
Mr. Malami had asked the court to stop the Senate from carrying on with the ongoing probe into the reinstatement of the fugitive.
If granted, the order would have been enforceable, despite the Senate’s absence at Wednesday’s hearing.
Following the controversial reinstatement of Mr. Maina by President Muhammadu Buhari administration in October, 2017, the National Assembly began its probe into the circumstances that resulted in his recall.
Mr. Buhari later ordered Mr. Maina’s disengagement from the civil service after public outcry. Mr. Maina has since gone into hiding.
In November, 2017, Mr. Malami appeared before the probe panel instituted by the upper chamber of the National Assembly where he denied giving the directives for Mr. Maina’s recall.
Shortly after Mr. Malami made his submissions before the senate, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita took the floor and countered his (Malami’s) claims.
The Senate subsequently on November, 23 requested more time to study additional information at its disposal.
But on Monday, the Cable Newspaper reported that Mr. Malami approached the court to stop the ongoing investigation.
According to the application filed before the judge, Binta Nyako, the attorney general submitted that the Senate cannot constitute itself into, ”a court that tries the executive arm over the discharge of its duties.”
“The plaintiff as the chief law officer and minister of justice of the federation is bound to ensure compliance by the Federal Government of Nigeria and or any of its cognate organs/agencies with the express or implied contents of extant judgements and orders of competent courts in Nigeria.
“The defendant cannot constitute itself into a quasi-appellate court, tribunal or panel with a view to reviewing any executive action taken in compliance with the adverse judgment in the said Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/65/2013,” Mr. Malami said in his application.
However, in a ruling after listening to the applicants in her chambers, Mrs. Nyako asked that the defendants including the Senate be served hearing notices to allow them attend court on the next adjourned date, January 15, to defend themselves.
The court specifically ruled that the defendants appear in court to explain why the application should not be granted.
Mr. Maina was sacked from the civil service in 2013 and was in 2015 placed on the wanted list of International Police (INTERPOL) by the EFCC.
Premium Times had reported how Mr. Maina was secretly reinstated to the civil service and rewarded with promotion, despite being wanted for alleged corruption in the management of pension funds.