THE Judicial Commission of Inquiry investigating the sale of valued assets belonging to Rivers State by the immediate past administration, has turned down its counsel’s application to issue warrant of arrest on former local government chairmen who had refused to obey a directive to appear before it.
The Justice George Omeriji-led panel had on August 25, 2015, summoned the former council chairmen for their alleged involvement in the purported diversion of N2bn being part of a N4bn agric loan to the state from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Justice Omereji, said during his brief on Thursday, that it was not necessary to involve the police in the proceedings of the panel, especially when it could be avoided.
He explained that the invitation extended to the former council chairmen and the subsequent issuance of summons for them to appear before the panel and defend the allegations of corruption against them was a proof that they were given fair hearing.
“Our invitation and subsequent issuance of summons to the affected former local government chairmen to answer to allegations of corruption against them is a demonstration that they have been given a fair hearing.
“It is up to them to come forward to defend themselves on the allegations against them before the commission. This is a fact-finding commission; so, there is no need to involve the police,” Omereji said.
It will be recalled that counsel for the commission, Dr. Zaccheus Adangor, made a verbal application before the commission on Monday, asking it to issue a warrant of arrest on the former local government chairmen who refused to appear before the panel after being summoned to do so.
Adangor had recalled that the invitation and summons issued on the ex-council chairmen were published in the TIDE Newspaper, the state-owned print medium.
However, counsel for the former local government chairmen, Mr. Ken Atsuwete, said he was satisfied with the position of the commission on the matter.