By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—AN Imo State High Court presided over by Justice Benjamin C. Iheka, yesterday ordered substituted service on members of the panel that allegedly probed the “gross misconduct” levelled against the Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere.
Arguing the ex-parte matter, Madumere’s counsel, Prince Ken C. O. Njemanze, SAN, told the Court that five of the seven-man panel, set up by the state Chief Judge, Justice Paschal Nnadi, to probe the alleged gross misconduct levelled against his client have remained elusive.
“My Lord, the third and fourth defendants (Nze Saba Nze and Charles Okoro) respectively, are lawyers. We know their Chambers and they have been properly served”, Njemanze said.
While informing the Court that the plaintiff does not know the other members of the panel, Madumere’s counsel also disclosed that it became very expedient for his client to serve them through the Chief Judge, who appointed them.
“My Lord, we reasoned that since the Chief Judge appointed them, he would also know their addresses. However, all the court processes we dropped in Chief Judge’s Chamber, were returned.
“In view of the urgency of the matter before the court and the need to actually effect proper service of the processes on the other members of the panel before August 20, 2018, the next adjourned date, we urge the Court to order for substituted service on the five panelists that are yet to be served,” Njemanze said.
Handing down the order yesterday, Justice Iheka said he has carefully read through the Motion Exparte for substituted service dated and filed on August 13, 2018, the supporting affidavit deposed thereto and the written address of counsel.
“And after hearing Ken Njemanze, SAN, with N Chijioke Esq of counsel to the Plaintiff/Applicant, leave is granted to the Applicant as Plaintiff in this suit number HOW/565/2018, to effect service of the Motion on Notice dated July 31, 2018, and filed on August 1, 2018, on the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th defendants in this suit, by substituted means,” Justice Iheka said.
He also ordered the publication of same in three newspapers with wide circulation in Imo State and Nigeria.
“This service as herein ordered, when duly complied with, shall be deemed good, proper and effective service in this proceedings,” Justice Iheka said.