By Hamidu Sabo Katsina

Katsina High Court presided by Justice Abbas Bawale yesterday dismissed the suit filed before it by a former Governor of the state, Barrister Ibrahim Shehu Shema, against the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate the alleged looting of N72 billion by the officials of the Shema-led PDP administration.
Also joined in the suit are the chairman, Justice Surajo Muhammed, and all the other 10 members of the Commission.

In the suit, the former Governor had sought the following reliefs: That the Governor of the state, Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, has no power to constitute the commission to enquire into the activities of his tenure; that the establishment of the commission is unconstitutional; that his right to fair hearing has been breached and that the Chairman of the Commission is biased.
However, in its ruling, the court dismissed all the claims of the former governor denying him all the reliefs he had sought on the following grounds:

That by the power vested on him by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Governor has the power to constitute the Judicial Commission of Inquiry; that the right to fair hearing of the plaintiff, Ibrahim Shehu Shema, has not been breached as he had been served with all the processes of the Commission which had given him sufficient time to respond to the allegations raised in all the memos filed by the government before the Commission and that the plaintiff has not provided sufficient evidence to prove that the Chairman of the Commission is biased.
It would be recalled that the 11-member Judicial Commission of Inquiry was set up by the Katsina state governor to, among other things, investigate the whereabouts of N72 billion that was taken in cash out of the government’s copper without trace as to what the money was used for.

While inaugurating the Commission, Governor Masari had stressed that its purpose was not to witch-hunt anybody, but to establish the whereabouts of the missing money with a view to setting the records in clear and proper perspective.
He had further stressed that his administration was not in anyway, probing any contract awarded by the Shema administration, noting that he had not invited any contractor to explain the contracts they had handled during the immediate past administration.

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