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Federal High Court Grants Ex-Parte Order Halting Judicial Panel’s Investigation into Former Abia State Governor and Officials

A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted an ex-parte order restraining the Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Recovery of Government Properties and Funds, established by Governor Alex Otti of Abia State, from investigating former Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and officials who served under his administration.

Justice E. Okpe granted the injunction based on an ex-parte motion brought by Mr. C. Enuka, counsel to Ikpeazu and three other applicants. The court ordered an interim injunction preventing the panel from summoning, interrogating, arresting, or harassing the applicants or their families in connection with their tenure as public officers in the Abia State Government from 2015 to 2023. The injunction will remain in effect until the substantive Originating Motion on Notice is determined.

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The case is scheduled for a hearing on August 15, 2023, to address the substantive suit.

Governor Alex Otti, who established the Panel of Inquiry on the Recovery of Government Properties and Funds, expressed unawareness of any court injunction obtained by his predecessor, Okezie Ikpeazu. Through his Media Adviser, Ferdinand Ekeoma, Otti stated that even if an injunction was obtained, the government would challenge it. Otti emphasized that a legitimate government should not be obstructed from investigating alleged acts of illegality or financial malfeasance against the state. If the injunction is challenged, Otti’s government is confident that the court will vacate it.

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