June 17, 2009

Court orders Ebonyi govt to reinstate sacked Auditor General

By Dennis Agbo

ABAKALIKI—A Ebonyi State High Court sitting in Abakaliki,  has for the second time asked the Ebonyi state  government to reinstate the sacked Auditor General for Local Governments in the state, Mr. Gabriel Nwonu, whom the court  had previously ordered back to his job.

But the Ebonyi state government, had through its counsel, Mrs. Patience Otozi, asked the court for a stay of execution of the judgment delivered in favour of Mr. Nwonu.

The application for stay,  followed the court’s judgment, ordering  the state government to reinstate the Auditor General for Local Government,  whom the court held was illegally  removed by the then state government  of  Dr. Sam Egwu in 2005.

Ebonyi state is contending that an application for stay is an equitable remedy that is granted at the discretion of the court, and that every application for stay is to be treated and decided on its peculiar facts and circumstances as decided cases in other matter only serve as guide and cannot apply in the exercise of court’s discretion.

However, the trial judge,  Justice Henry Njoku, in his ruling, struck out the application on the ground that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain any  further application whatsoever over the matter, since appeal had been entered before the Appeal Court, Enugu.

“The issue as presented before this court and from the facts in the application is whether this court can compel the respondent to reply to the application of the applicants or should go ahead to rule in the absence of the respondent’s reply,” the court said.