A Port Harcourt High Court presided over by Justice Boma Diepriye last Wednesday has quashed and faulted the label of financial misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds against the former chairman of Andoni Local government council, Hon. Apostle Felix Ayayi.
The court while granting all the reliefs except returning him back to office as sought by the claimant and chairman of Andoni, Apostle Felix Ayayi has nullified all the actions, pronouncements and positions of the Rivers State House of Assembly and the Justice Enebeli’s led panel of enquiry.
The Honourable Justice Boma in his ruling has also nullify the impeachment of the chairman by the local government legislative Assembly, saying that the impeachment which did not move through due process was also not carried out within the jurisdiction of the council.
He said the impeachment by the councilors outside Andoni Local Government in Port Harcourt was a nullity and ought not to have been done outside Andoni.
The judgment also faulted the Justice Adulphus Enebeli’s led panel describing its findings, pronouncements and recommendations to the Assembly as a nullity, said the panel at the first instance would not have been set up by the Assembly since the chairman was on suspension.
The court equally held that the setting up of the panel when the chairman was already on suspension was at varience with the law.
It was also held that the action, decision and pronouncement of the State Assembly was a total nullity.
The court citing the law, even from the Rivers State local government law took a swipe of the Assembly, saying that the process and setting up of the panel was in disagreement with the law and therefore declare it a nullity.
The high court however has ordered the payment of all salaries, allowances and entitlements of the chairman from the period of his suspension running to the end of that tenure without delay.
The court by its ruling has exonerated the embattled chairman of Andoni Apostle Felix Fyneface Ayayi of the purported crime and indictment imputed against him by the Rivers State House of Assembly and the Justice Adulphus Enebeli’s panel.
On reaction to the judgment, the people of Rivers State and Andoni in particular have hailed the court’s decision for exonerating the said chairman by banking on the truth as specified by law.
Meanwhile, the people also faulted the ruling on the ground of awarding payment of entitlements, salaries and allowances to the chairman since he never sought for that but to be returned to complete his tenure.
In the next line of action, some of the embattled chairman’s aide and point men when contacted said the judgment was a welcome development except that the court has acted like Father Christmas, but said their next line of action is yet to be taken.
But from all indications, and body language of the embattle chairman’s pointmen, the stage is set for a fresh battle.
It is also noticed from their body language that the chairman may be heading appeal court to seek justice having gotten the initial victory at the High Court.
It could be recalled that Hon. Apostle Felix Fyneface Ayayi was elected and sworn-in in 2008 by Governor Amaechi.
But he was removed from office on alleged sponsorship of the governor by the Rivers State House of Assembly on gross financial misappropriation and embezzlement.###