The Federal High Court in Abuja has held that the National Assembly lacks powers to investigate criminal allegations or indict anybody based on its criminal investigation.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole stated this in his judgement delivered on June 12, 2018 in Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/163/2009) filed by Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN) against the House of Representatives and 2 others.
Justice Kolawole held that by virtue of Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), “the National Assembly is not constitutionally or legally empowered to investigate criminal allegations and absolve or indict any individual of those allegations.”
The judge further declared that the House of Representative’s Resolution dated March 3, 2009 which indicted and accused Keyamo of unwholesome conduct was null, void and of no effect.
The court also held that the National Assembly is not constitutionally empowered to make recommendations or pass any resolution concerning the conduct of any person, including Keyamo who is not charged or intended to be charged, with the duty of or responsibility for executing or administering laws enacted by the National Assembly nor is he charged with disbursing or administering monied appropriated or to be appropriated by the National Assembly.
The court also said that the resolution of the House of Representatives dated March 3, 2009 concerning the conduct of Keyamo was illegal, null and void.
The judge also restrained the Nigeria Police and the Department of State Services from compulsorily giving effect to the said Resolution of the House of Representatives dated March 3, 2009 on Keyamo.
The Daily Times recalls that Keyamo had in 2008 written the Speaker of the House of Representatives demanding for an open response to allegations contained in a national Magazine, Newswatch story titled “Dirty Car deal”.
It was alleged that there were fraudulent dealings by the leadership and management of the House of Representatives in the purchase of 380 units of 407 Peugeot cars for its members from Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited.
The then Speaker, Hon Dimeji Bankole, instead of replying the said letter, referred the letter to House Committee on Ethics and Privileges which he himself constituted.
The committee having found that Keyamo’s letter was faulty and baseless in its allegations, urged the House to prevail on the Inspector-General of Police and/or other relevant security agencies to investigate how the annexures/documents attached to Keyamo’s letter were obtained”.
The House of Representatives then went ahead and “absolved” the then Speaker (Mr. Dimeji Bankole) of the criminal allegations leveled against him in the said publication for which Keyamo sought explanations.
Keyamo, who believed that the Resolution of the House of Representatives exceeded its powers as prescribed by the 1999 Constitution and other relevant laws, then approached the court for redress.