June 17, 2009

Jang can’t probe Dariye — Court

By Taye Obateru

Jos — A Federal High Court, Jos  has declared the setting up of a commission of inquiry by Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State to conduct criminal investigations into the tenure of his predecessor, Chief Joshua Dariye as unlawful.

It has also quashed the white paper issued by the state government on the various administrative investigations conducted into different government ministries and agencies on the ground that Dariye and others indicted by them were not given fair hearing.

Delivering judgment yesterday on separate suits filed by Dariye and others on the two issues, Justice Husseini Othman said although Governor Jang had the power to set up the commission of inquiry, he acted ultra vires by empowering the commission to investigate and punish offenders on matters that were criminal in nature.

He said the commission not being a court of law, could not investigate or try matters that were criminal in nature especially when the former governor and the 49 others were already standing trial for the same offences at a court of law in Abuja.

Dariye had dragged Jang and 32 other to stop the state government from using the judicial commission of inquiry from investigating him and for the court to set aside the white paper issued by the state government indicting him saying he had no constitutional power to do so.