A suit launched by a civil society group, Kingdom Rights Foundation International (KHRFI), at the Federal High Court, Abuja to look into allegations of corruption against the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu has been approved.
An enrolled order of the court bearing the stamp of the Federal High Court and the signature of the registrar with October 15, 2018 date, showed that Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo made the order on October 10.
The civil rights group filed the application on August 23, 2018, seeking the court’s permission to start proceedings looking into Kachikwu’s probe for various allegations of corruption.
Kachikwu was sued alongside the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
In a substantive suit, the plaintiff asked the court to exercise investigations into the administrative inactions of the defendants to perform their obligations in connection with the prosecution of Kachikwu.
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Okere Nnamdi, move the ex parte application seeking leave to commence the suit on October 10.
Granting the request in her ruling, Justice Ogunbanjo held, “Leave is granted to the plaintiff/applicant to commence action for judicial review of administrative action/inaction to perform their constitutional and statutory mandate and obligation under section 174(1), (2), and (3) of the 1999 Constitution, sections 3 and 24 (2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, CAP C15, Laws of the Federation 2004, and in section 5(1) of the EFCC Act, to investigate and prosecute Ibe Emmanuel Kachikwu, on allegations of money laundering, operation of foreign bank account while occupying a public office, corruption, false declaration of assets, perjury and abuse of office, contrary to the Code of Conduct for Public Officers provided under paragraphs 1, 2 and 11(1) and (2) of the Fifth Schedule, Part I of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)”.
The judge also made an order deeming the plaintiff’s originating summons (the main suit) filed alongside the ex parte as “properly filed under Order 34 Rule 5(1) of the rules of the court”.
But the judge declined to grant the applicant’s request that Kachikwu should be served with the court papers through “the most senior staff member in the registry of any staff member of the ministry”.
Rather, the court ruled that “the first defendant (Kachikwu) is to be served personally”.
The judge then fixed October 24 for a report of service.
Some of Kachikwu’s assets which the plaintiff accused him of declaring anticipatorily include N1.35bn in Nigerian banks as well as $1.2m and £100,000 in foreign banks.
The plaintiff also said they included landed properties worth about N10.720bn with anticipated annual income from the properties valued at about N1.345bn; declaration of 1,500 stocks in different companies outside Nigeria valued at about $1m having expected annual income of $50,000 to $100,000.
The group also accused him of “non-declaration of assets of several companies registered in Nigeria where Kachikwu had interests and controlling shareholding, serving as a Director and Management Board member of Beverly Cops & Securities Ltd., Intel & Data limited, Flame Petroleum & Gas Ltd., True Tales Productions Ltd., and True Tales Event Management Ltd”.
Other allegations included, “failure to resign as Director in these companies, while at the same time serving as the Group Managing Director of NNPC as well as Minister of State for Petroleum, in violation of paragraph 2 (b) of the 5th schedule to the Constitution”.