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Centenary City Probe: Court Restrains Reps From Prosecuting Ex-SGF Anyim



A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory has restrained the House of Representatives from acting on the report of its House Committee on the Federal Capital Territory which indicted the immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, over allegations of impropriety in the management of Federal Government’s Centenary City project in Abuja.

Anyim, through his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), approached the court with an ex-parte motion brought pursuant to Order 5 Rules 3 and 4 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009 and Section 35 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.

In the motion with suit number, CV/1303/17 and application no: M/5531/17 before the presiding judge, Justice U.A. Musale, the Anyim named the House of Representatives and Hon. Herman Hemben who is the Chairman, House Committee on FCT as 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.

Anyim begged the court for “an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents by themselves, or through any of the security agencies, privies or agents, from acting on the report of the House Committee on FCT which was adopted on the floor of the whole House of Representatives on Thursday, 16 March, 2017.’’

While granting the restraining order on May 4, 2017, which a Certified True Copy was obtained last Friday by our correspondent, Justice Musale held: “The respondents are therefore restrained by themselves or through any of the security agencies, privies or agents, from acting on the report of the House Committee on FCT which was adopted on the floor of the whole House of Representatives on the Thursday, 16 March, 2017, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on Notice.”

Subsequently, the judge adorned the case till May 30, 2017 for hearing.

Senator Anyim served as SGF during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, and was saddled with the mandate of coordinating the Centenary City project of the government in Abuja.

In an affidavit in support of the motion, sworn to by one Usman Salihu in Ozehome (SAN)’s chambers, the former SGF pointed out his grouse with the House Committee’s Chairman (Hembe).

The ex-SGF said he as former Senate President and Chairman of National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria could only be validly invited by the Clerk of the National Assembly and not a Committee Clerk as could be seen in the instant probe by the lower chamber.

Anyim accused Hembe of “bias, personal interest, malice and vendetta” in insisting to chair the House Committee on FCT in respect of investigating the Centenary City project.

The applicant had informed the Committee that Hembe tried several times to get the Managing Director of the Centenary City Plc to come and see him privately which was resisted by the said manager.

He equally brought to the notice of the Committee that when he was the SGF, Hembe was accused of demanding a bribe from a former Director General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Aruma Otteh, the basis of which Hembe allegedly pressured Anyim to sack Otteh, saying he had refused to yield to yield to such “ungodly act of victimisation.”

He further pointed out that the report of the House Committee on FCT which indicted him (Anyim) herein did not afford him the opportunity to defend himself, adding that the respondents (Reps and Hembe) want to rely on the said report for which the he has come to court to seek its nullification to victimise and malign him.

In a written address in support of the application, Anyim through his lawyer, Ozekome (SAN), disclosed that the applicant worked assiduously towards ensuring the success of the Centenary City project, and in recognition of his hard work, the Senate Committee in its report on the Centenary City Project, “praised the industry and sense of duty exhibited by the applicant and his team towards the execution of the project which was wholly financed by the private sector.”

“It was also brought to the knowledge of the 2nd respondent (Hembe) the fact that there was already in existence, a report of the Senate Committee on FCT on the same issue or subject matter as the committee sought to conduct a public hearing on. The 2nd respondent ignored the report of the Senate which he could have adopted, or even called for a joint session of both committees, to harmonise the report, and still went ahead due to his deep-seated malice and bias against the person of the applicant herein, to produce another report indicting the applicant.”