Jude Agbaso, the embattled Imo State deputy governor, has finally been impeached by the state House of Assembly.
This is coming barely days after the state chief judge, Benjamin Njemanze, set up a seven-man panel to investigate alleged N458 million bribe-taking against him from a contractor. The motion to impeach Agbaso was moved by Adaku Ihuoma, the Assembly’s majority leader, representing Ahiazu Mbaise constituency.
The motion was seconded by Pat Ekeji, the minority leader, representing Aboh Mbaise constituency. The speaker, Benjamin Uwajimogu, called for vote after the impeachment motion, and 23 members voted in favour of the motion, two others voted by proxy, although House speaker, Uwajimogu, rejected the votes. One member voted against.
Meanwhile, another motion was moved for Eze Madumere, current chief of staff, Government House, to replace Agbaso as new deputy governor. The speaker had read out a letter from Governor Rochas Okorocha where he nominated Madumere to replace the deputy governor.The legislators withdrew into a session to deliberate on the replacement.
Agbaso, beleaguered on all sides, had earlier gone to a Federal High Court, Owerri, to secure an order stopping his impeachment. That order was vacated as hearing commenced and provided a leeway for the state chief judge, Njemanze, to inaugurate the seven-man investigative panel, which was earlier stalled by the court order.
By Tuesday, the Federal High Court judge had assured Agbaso of an accelerated court process.
The Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up to investigate the N458 million contract scam against the Imo deputy governor, Agbaso, had rejected the request by the deputy governor urging it to suspend its investigation.
The chairman of the panel, Justice Godwin Ihekire, announced the rejection while ruling on the request on Thursday in Owerri.
He said the request was lacking in merit and therefore the panel would continue with the investigation. The judicial panel of inquiry was set up on March 23 by the chief judge of Imo State.
The panel was charged with the task of investigating the N458 million bribe allegedly given to the deputy governor by a construction company, J-Bros Ltd.
Agbaso, in a letter to the panel through his counsel, claimed that he was not served any summons on the matter.
He also drew the attention of the panel to two law suits he instituted at the Imo High Court on the “purported impeachment against me.”
“From the foregoing, it is clear that I am not only challenging the purported steps or actions leading to the constitution of your panel but also challenging the appointment/constitution of your panel by the chief judge of Imo State”.
BEN EGUZOZIE &
VICTORIA NNAKAIKE, Owerri