Ex-Taraba Deputy Governor Was Properly Impeached, Appeal Court Rules •I’ll Test Judgment At Supreme Court, He Says

high_court_14The Court of Appeal on Friday in Abuja affirmed the removal of the former Deputy Governor of Taraba, Sani Danladi.

Mr. Danladi was removed from office on October 5, 2012 after the state House of Assembly impeached him based on the report of a judicial commission of inquiry.

Delivering judgment, Justice Uwani Abba-Aji, who led four other justices, held that the 19 out of the 24 lawmakers, constituted more than the minimum two-third majority, as stipulated by the constitution.

“The impeachment was in line with the mandatory provisions of Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution as amended. The appellant should have known that the constitution does not stipulate hundred percent attendance of all the members before such exercise must be carried out.

“The court, therefore, upholds the reasoning of the lower court, maintaining that a public officer should not be identified with any action that constitutes gross misconduct. The allegations of abuse of office, conversion of public utility and funds to private use and non performance of his statutory functions and duties constitute abuse of office.

“It is also erroneous to hold that the acting chief judge of Taraba who constituted the commission of inquiry which report led to Danladi’s impeachment was not qualified to do.

“The appellant defence was out of place when he argued that his fresh oath of office obliterates allegations of his misconduct in the previous tenure.

“The High Court of Taraba was apt in its decision to affirm the action by the state House of Assembly and are obliged to further affirm it,’’ he said.

The appellant had challenged and lost his impeachment before a Taraba High Court.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the lower court, he approached the court.

In his defence, Mr. Danladi argued that the law required the presence of all members of the House of Assembly for any impeachment processes to commence.

He further submitted that the decision of the House of Assembly called for a review, as it was not fully constituted when his impeachment was carried out.

He submitted that the report of the judicial commission of inquiry which purportedly indicted him was “baseless and incompetent.’’

According to him, the acting chief judge of the state lacks the constitutional backing to delve into establishing the judicial commission of inquiry to probe him.

The former deputy governor was accused of diverting Federal Government/World Bank’s Millennium Development Goals, (MDGs) Projects funds for his private use, among others.

Speaking to newsmen after the judgment, Yoonus Usman, counsel to the appellant, said the decision of the court would be tested at the Supreme Court.