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Saturday, 19 October, 2019

Kogi Deputy Governor Impeachment: Panel rejects fresh documents

The panel inaugurated by the Chief Judge of Kogi State to try allegations of gross misconduct filed against the the state Deputy Governor Simon Achuba has said that any document that was not previously filled before the state House of Assembly or the panel cannot be smuggled in after the panel has commenced full hearing of the case.

The chairman of the five man panel, John Bayesia, gave the warning on Monday when one of the counsels to the state government presented bank receipts as part of the evidence that the Deputy Governor was actually paid his salaries and entitlements contrary to his claims.

The panel chairman, while ruling on the issue, said it will be prejudice to bring the documents to the panel when it was not originally presented along with other documents, saying it was capable of wasting the panel’s time, warning counsels to only restrict themselves to was initially presented before the panel.

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The state House of Assembly had moved foward with an impeachment notice on the Deputy Governor over ‘gross misconduct’ levelled against him following a motion passed by the Assembly

Achuba has been in a running battle with state Governor Yahaya Bello over allegations that the Governor had failed o pay his salaries and allowances since 2017 amounting up to over N817 million, a development that led the Deputy Governor to threaten to drag the Governor to court after a seven-day ultimatum.

At the Monday sitting, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mrs Folashade Ayoade-Arike, was among several witnesses that testified before the panel.

Others included the Acting Director (Treasury), Office of the Accountant General, Mr Elijah Ebinemi, who presented before the panel evidence of alleged salaries/allowances payment, to the embattled Deputy Governor.

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The certified true copies of said payment was said to have covered between 2016 and 2017.

Also testifying was Saliu Hassan Itopa, Cashier, Office of the Deputy Governor.

The SSG under cross examination by lead counsel to Achuba, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN), among others, alleged that the state Deputy Governor last turned up at the weekly state executive council meeting in August 2018.

She said she was incompetent to issue query to the Deputy Governor.

She stated that while it is not under the schedule of the Office of the SSG to pay the salary of the Deputy Governor, all workers of the state, including the Deputy Governor and his aides, have been paid “up-to-date”.

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Under cross examination by Mr Anthony Adeniyi, lead counsel to the state government, Mr Itopa, the cashier in the office of the Deputy Governor, explained that allowances and other monies, including impress, are paid directly into the bank accounts of those concerned.

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