Chief Chris Aghanwa appears with Chief Ogochukwu Onyekwuluje, Mr. Peter Eze, and Helen Udezue (Mrs) for the Deputy Governor, His Excellency Sunday Onyebuchi.
Aghanwa says the matter is for the continuation of defence. He asks the Clerk of the Panel to call the names of all those issued with subpoena excluding the police officers to know whether they are here in court.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Lands and Urban Development he is here in the Panel. Says his name is not B.S. Ude but Anthony Ude although he is the Permanent Secretary and that the person that signed the subpoena did not state his name.
Eze says since he is here in the Panel and he is the Permanent Secretary he is the one he subpoenaed and that the mistake is a mere typographical error. Eze says he intends to abandon the subpoena and call the Permanent Secretary who is in court.
Eze applies to call Mr. Anthony Ude the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands who is in court in answer to subpoena which was wrongly addressed to him as B.S Ude the Permanent Secretary, instead of Anthony Ude. Says he is calling him as his witness since he is the Permanent Secretary and is here in the Panel.
Anthony Ude says the subpoena he saw has no name of the person who signed it and that his name is not correctly given. Says he does not know what the issue is or what he is testifying to and that if he knows the issue he will testify.
Eze says the testimony relates to Independence Layout and it is what he knows.
Panel: Eze should go out and discuss with his witness. Eze says he does not want to discuss anything with the witness and is ready to go on.
The Panel overrules Mr. Eze even as he insists he would not discuss with the witness.
PANEL: This Panel will rise briefly.
At the resumed sitting Eze seeks to continue with his witness, Mr. Anthony Ude as his witness. Anthony Ude says he does not want to be his witness.
Eze says he wants to put in his next witness, the Deputy Governor. Says before he continues he wants the Panel to take note that the following persons: Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo Chief of Staff, Government House, Enugu, Mr. Nicholas Agbo, the Secretary to the Deputy Governor, Mr. G.O.C Ajah, the Permanent Secretary in charge of Administration, Government House, Enugu. Mr. Victor Atuonwu, the Special Adviser to the Governor being persons against whom this subpoenas were issued and which subpoenas were served in accordance with the order of this Panel yesterday have failed to appear before the Panel in obedience to the subpoenas and have proffered no reason for this refusal or failure.
EVIDENCE OF DGW7-SUNDAY ONYEBUCHI
Witness affirms and states in English Language.
My name is Sunday Chidi Onyebuchi. I live at 46 Savage Crescent, G.R.A., Enugu. I am the Deputy Governor of Enugu State. I was first elected Deputy Governor alongside His Excellency, Sullivan Chime in 2007. I was re-elected alongside Barr. Chime in 2011. I was sworn in as Deputy Governor for the 2nd time on 29 May 2011. I took an oath of office to uphold the Nigerian Constitution. Prior to being elected as Deputy Governor I was employed in the then Anambra State Civil Service as a Clerical Officer on 3 April 1980. I rose through that rank to the rank of Permanent Secretary in Enugu State Civil Service. Within that period I was seconded by the Anambra State Civil Service to the defunct National Directorate for Social Mobilisation as a Social Mobilization Officer and Social Justice Officer. I served there from 1989 to 1992 when I was de-seconded. I was in Administration Department in Enugu State Ministry of Education. By 1999 I was posted to Government House, Enugu as Senior Administrative Officer. I served from 1999 to December 2001 in the Office of Chief of Staff as the Senior Administrative Officer. Thereafter, I served as Principal Administrative Officer to the Secretary to the State Government inside Lion Building, Government House, Enugu. On February 2002, I was appointed Principal Private Secretary to the Governor. On March 3rd 2005 I was Commissioner in the Enugu State Government and served as Commissioner for Works and Transport. Early 2007 I resigned my appointment as Commissioner and was nominated as a running mate to the gubernatorial candidate of PDP His Excellency, Barr. Sullivan Chime.
Eze applies for copies of Exhibits tendered in the proceedings at his own costs.
Panel: Application granted.
When I was a member of the State Executive I had the opportunity to meet with His Excellency, the Governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime, as Commissioner for Works and Housing and the Governor was Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General.
My relationship with him was very cordial and friendly one. I know why I am here.
Witness is shown “Exhibits H12”
Witness says it is the Notice of Allegation of Gross Misconduct in the Performance of the functions of the office of the Deputy Governor by Mr. Sunday Onyebuchi.
I have seen the notice before now and I am not guilty in the performance of my functions as the Deputy Governor of Enugu State.
As a Deputy Governor I did have an official residence. This official residence that was made known to me is the Deputy Governor’s Lodge, Government House Enugu. I do not reside there now. In 2012, I was asked to vacate the Lodge by the Governor so that the place would be renovated since it is dilapidated. It was early September 2012. I complied with the directive. I was not provided with an alternative accommodation. I was not paid an allowance in lieu of an official accommodation. I complained about this.
When I observed that the renovation work which started after I vacated the premises was abandoned, I met with the Governor and brought the abandonment of the renovation work to his attention and he told me that he directed the stoppage of work because the man he asked to carry out the work was doing more than he asked him to do. I then told him that I know that as a Deputy Governor I am entitled to be provided accommodation by Government. I asked if there was any other place Government will give me to move in and he said that Government no longer has quarters. I asked again if allowance could be paid to me in lieu of accommodation and he replied that Government did not have money. I gave up and let it be. The renovation of that house has not been completed till date.
I moved into the Deputy Governor’s Lodge in November 2008. I can describe the premises. The premises is fenced and as you enter you see a gate house by the left where security men stay, a large expanse of green lawn on both sides of the road leading to the inside of the compound. The main building which you find almost as you enter the compound consists of 9 bedrooms, 2 sitting rooms, a kitchen, a laundry. Behind the main building there was a playground for children, there was also an asphalted area designated as car park. About fifty or sixty metres away from the main building there is a wire mesh fence separating the Boy’s Quarters and the area designated as Agriculture unit. The Boy’s Quarters consists of 12 rooms, the Agric Unit consists of lands for cultivation and in the middle of that land is a poultry house.All these things I described were what I met in the premises when I moved in there.
I occupied the main house with my wife and children and some members of my extended family. The Boy’s Quarters is occupied by my aides and workers. I did something in the Agric Unit. When I noticed the existing poultry house I invited some officials of the State Ministry of Agriculture led by the Programme Manager, Enugu State Agricultural Programme. They inspected the structure and thereafter helped me to set up a poultry farm. They recommended to me workers to be employed. They trained the workers and brought the first birds or what they call day old chicks with which the poultry was started. The poultry started in December 2008.
The officials of the Ministry of Agriculture supervised the poultry and they dealt directly with my wife Mrs. Nneka Ada Onyebuchi. I was aware after inquiry that the only business public office holders are allowed to run is farming. I got this information from the Code of Conduct Bureau. I told myself that establishing the poultry will reduce my needs for buying poultry and eggs from the market. I ran the poultry as a business because the poultry was generating the revenue for sustaining itself. Between 2008 and 2014 the average number of birds in the poultry ranges between 2000 to 3000 birds.
I was visiting the poultry from time to time to see how the birds were doing and also to see that it was properly maintained. On most of the visits I inspected the poultry with the Programme Manager of ENADEP to ensure that the place was properly cleaned and kept under hygienic conditions. I had employees running the poultry. I know DGW1. She was involved in the sales. I know DGW2. I also know DGW4. These people were employed to ensure that the poultry farm was properly cleaned and that birds were fed and water provided. I could not perceive any odour from the poultry in my residence. Between the establishment of the poultry in 2008 and December 26 2014 I did not get any complaint with regard to the running of the poultry.
However, late in the night of December 22, 2014 the Permanent Secretary Governor’s Office, Mr. G.O.C Ajah mni, came to my residence and he was looking worried. I asked him what the problem was and he said that he had a directive from the Chief of Staff to the Governor to remove the poultry the next day. I told him not to be worried because I had been in the position such as the one he is occupying. I told him that he could go ahead and arrange to carry out the directives given to him so that he would save his job. He asked me if there was no other place I could move the birds to so that they will not be destroyed. I replied that it would be difficult for me to find an alternative place within such a short time and he left.
The next morning 23 December 2013, I went to the poultry house to take some pictures in the poultry before the removal. While I was there, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. G.O.C Ajah called me and told me that he was at my gate at my private residence in G.R.A and asked if he could be allowed to come in and have further discussion. I told him I was at my official residence at the poultry house and that he could come there. He came there in the company of the Government House doctor, Dr. Ogbonna, the HW3.
It was Dr. Ogbonna who spoke and told me that the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Ajah came to his house very late in the night before and told him of the discussion he had with me concerning the directive to close down the poultry. He expressed worry and concern that such number of birds would be allowed to be destroyed. He reinforced the suggestion Mr. Ajah made the night before to the effect that I should find alternative place to move the birds. I told him that I thought of it throughout the night before and could not think of a place to move the birds. I assured them that I would not in anyway obstruct them from carrying out the directive. I further assured them that no one will hear about it from me and they left.
Dr. Ogbonna did not call my wife to complain about the offensive odour. I asked the workers at the poultry and they told me that Dr. Ogbonna did not inspect the poultry. If Dr. Ogbonna called my wife, she would have told me. I confirmed from my wife that he did not call her. I know Dr. Ogbonna as the Doctor in charge of Government House Clinic.
The next day on the 27th December, 2013, my Secretary, Nicholas Agbo brought to my residence two letters and attached a note to the two letters saying he did that in case I was not present when he came. I can identify the two letters.
Witness identifies the two letters Exhibit H6A and H6B. Witness identifies the original of the attached note
Eze seeks to tender the attached note.
No objection from counsel for the House of Assembly.
Panel: Hand written notes dated 27 December 2013 signed by Nicholas Agbo admitted and marked Exhibit HG1.
(Deputy Governor reads Exhibit H6B dated 24/12/13).
Exhibit H6A was written to me by the Permanent Secretary, Government House. I received Exhibit H6A and Exhibit H6B the same day.
(Deputy Governor reads Exhibit H6A; Titled Final Notice dated 27/12/13)
From my experience as a civil servant, residences of officials are differently described. Mine is described as Deputy Governor’s Lodge; others are Ministers Quarters, etc. Residences like the Deputy Governor’s Lodge belong to the Government. Government does not issue itself with a certificate of occupancy from my knowledge as a civil servant. I know because the Quarters I was living as a civil servant was monetized to a friend of mine and it was only thereafter that a certificate of occupancy was generated in his favour. There is no certificate of occupancy covering my official residence as none was brought to my attention.
I replied the two letters through my office permanent secretary. The letter is dated 8th January 2014. I have photocopy of the letter. The original was sent to the Chief of Staff.
Peter Eze seeks to tender the photocopy of the letter.
No objection by counsel.
PANEL: Letter dated 8 January, 2014 written to the Chief of Staff Government House and signed by Chris O. Eze is admitted and marked “Exhibit HG2”.
(Deputy Governor reads Exhibit HG2)
Eze says the Attorney General of Enugu State Mr. Anthony Ani SAN has just stepped into the Panel and thinks he should be given an opportunity to state why he is here.
Mr. Ani the Attorney General explains that he is in court with the Chief of Staff, Mrs. Ifeoma Nwobodo, in obedience to a subpoena served on her. Says he does not know at whose instance the subpoena was issued.
Eze says he issued the subpoena on behalf of the Deputy Governor. Eze says that the Deputy Governor who is already giving his evidence is not likely to finish today and applies that Mrs. Nwobodo comes back tomorrow morning by 9.00am to give her evidence.
At this juncture the Deputy Governor who is in the witness box becomes uncomfortable and demands for a bottle of water. He is given a bottle of water but his condition does not improve as he is about to slump. The Deputy Governor is taken away by family members and aides from the Panel.
PANEL: This proceedings adjourns to 2PM to determine what to do in the circumstance.
RESUMED PROCEEDINGS OF THE IMPEACHMWENT INVESTIGATIVE PANEL ON 13 AUGUST 2014 AT 2PM
Aghanwa says the Panel will recall that Deputy Governor was in the witness box up to about 11:45am today before a near fatal incident took place. Says they regret that he is not yet back. Says he was first rushed to one Dr. Akunyili of St. Leo Hospital who saw his case as one he could not handle and now invited one Dr. G. C. Anisiuba, a consultant physician and cardiologist, who now saw him and is treating him. Says the doctor issued a medical report which reveals that he had postural hypertension for which he is now receiving medication. He seeks to tender the medical report in evidence.
He says further that they have interacted with counsel to the Enugu State House of Assembly particularly Nduka Ikeyi and invites Ikeyi to inform the Panel what they discussed.
Ikeyi says they do not doubt the integrity of Chief Aghanwa and that he may as well relate their interaction to the Panel.
Aghanwa says parties have agreed to come back on Monday 18 August 2014 and may not wait for the one week the doctor gave to elapse. Says from layman’s point of view, he knows that a hypertension patient needs rest.
PANEL: We have heard the submission of counsel to the Deputy Governor and sympathise with the Deputy Governor as what happened to him in front of us was unfortunate. Counsel should understand that this is a fact-finding panel and that time is of essence. Says an adjournment to Monday is rather far and adjourns the matter to tomorrow, 14 August 2014 for continuation.