The Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi, Benue State, has held that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has the powers to investigate and prosecute cases without first receiving petitions.
The ruling is sequel to an appeal filed by the ICPC on June 21, 2011, which asked the appellate court to set aside the judgment of a Nasarawa State High Court that discharged and acquitted the chairman of Toto local government area of the state and the director of finance of the council over alleged involvement in corrupt practices.
Justice I. A Ramalan (now retired) had, in his verdict on May 20, 2008, discharged and acquitted the accused persons on “11-count charge of conspiracy to inflate prices of stationery and furnishing of false information, contrary to sections 26[c]; 22; 19; and 16 of the ICPC Act”.
But the certified true copy of the Court of Appeal’s judgment delivered on May 2, 2014, and made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday, reversed the judgment of the lower court and ruled in favour of the ICPC.
In the judgment delivered by a justice of the Court of Appeal, Obande Ogbuinya, the appellate court cited sections 6[a] and 27 of ICPC Act and held that “a petition is just a guide and it is not ultra vires the powers of the commission to investigate and prosecute offences outside a petition or initiate investigations and prosecutions without a petition”.