ATABOR JULIUS, LOKOJA.
The Kogi state House of Assembly on Tuesday on the floor of the House recommended outright sack for the Chief Judge of the state Justice Nasir Ajana or to step aside for what it termed gross misconduct.
Presenting a report on Public Accounts committee, the chairman Hon. Ahmed Mohammed representing Ankpa 1 constituency said the committee draw its powers from section 129 subsection c and section 125, 1, 2 of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria to investigate the budget performance of the Judiciary and the Hajj Commission and other government agencies and discovered large financial infractions.
The committee also noted that the imbroglio between the Judiciary and the Executive over the staff pay parade which has lasted for more than four months now has caused untold hardship occasioned by non-payment of salaries to the Judiciary workers for nine months.
Among the infractions committed by the Chief Judge and his Chief Registrar according to the committee included spending above approval limit without recourse to virement, non-deduction of withholding tax and non-appearance of the CJ before the committee among other misconducts.
Mohammed lamented that despite series of invitations extended to the CJ to clear the air , he has regrettably refused to appear before the committee or send representation. He added that the committee while presenting his report before the plenary recommended outright sack of the Chief Judge or he should be made to step aside from office for proper investigation to take place saying the CJ cannot be a judge in his own case.
However, a member representing Idah state Constituency Hon. Haruna Idoko in his contribution asked for the legality of the process adopted by the committee in finding the CJ guilty stressing that the matter is already before the court of competent jurisdiction.
But the speaker Rt. Hon. Matthew Kolawole stated that the constitution of the Federal Republic empowers the Assembly to investigate individuals or organisation as it related to the issue of public trust.
The committee also recommend immediate commencement of the payment of salary arrears to the staff of the Judiciary and to issue appropriate sanctions to the State Hajj Commission for misappropriation of fund.