By Rotimi Ajayi, Regional Editor
ABUJA — Staff and management of the Independent Corrupt Practises and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, are at loggerheads over the refusal of the Acting Chairman, Dr Rose Abang Wushishi, to vacate office after the expiration of her term.
A reliable source close to the management revealed to Vanguard in Abuja, yesterday, that the tenure of Wushishi expired on Friday, July 22 alongside that of other three commissioners of the commission.
Those whose terms expired alongside that of the acting chairman are Sir Simeon Oguntimehin, Commissioner representing South West zone; Dame Julie-Onum Nwarioku, representing the South East zone and Ambassador Uriah Angulu, North Central zone.
Until her appointment as the acting Chairman, Wushishi, who was born in Boki Local Government area of Cross River State, was the Commissioner representing the South South zone.
She was appointed to take over the leadership of the Commission on March 22 this year following the intervention of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke in an high-level investigation being conducted by the Commission into an alleged financial impropriety at the National Judicial Institute.
The source revealed that while the other three Commissioners whose tenure expired with that of the acting Chairman have stopped coming to the office or carry out official functions, the acting Chairman was said to have insisted that she would not vacate the office on the ground that she was the Chairman.
It was disclosed that since the acting Chairman came in as a Commissioner, there was no provision within the Act of the Commissioner that empowers her to extend a her tenure by a day.
The source revealed that a memo was sent to President Goodluck Jonathan about two months ago informing him that the tenure of the four of the five Commissioners would soon expired.
“We sent a letter to the President almost two months ago in order to avert this kind of constitution crisis but the Commission is yet to get a reply.
“Now the crisis is here. Four of the Commissioners including the acting Chairman of the Commission cannot legally function in office following the expiration of the tenure.
“While other Commissioners have stopped coming to office, the acting Chairman is insisting that she is covered by law to carry on her duties and yet there is no acting provision under our Act,” the source said.
The former Chairman of the Commission Justice Emmanuel O Ayoola finished his 5-year tenure on 29th November 2010. Dr Uriah Angulu, an Honourable Member of the Commission took over in Acting capacity immediately.
His tenure however ended on 22nd March 2011 following a directive from the office of the Attorney- General and Minister of Justice to hand over to Dr Rose Abang Wushishi AIG (RTD) also an Honourable Member of the Commission.