Senator Bulkachuwa takes ICPC to court over his confession

Bauchi politician and former Senator in the Ninth National Assembly, Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa has dragged the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, before the Federal High Court Abuja to stop his investigation and arrest over comments he made during the valedictory session of the last Senate.

Senator Bulkachuwa, who represented Bauchi North Senatorial District, at the valedictory session of the Ninth Senate claimed that he influenced his wife, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa’s decisions while she was serving as the President of the Court of Appeal.

Justice Bulkachuwa was the President of the Court of Appeal between 2014 and 2020 and retired from the court after reaching the mandatory age of 70.

The ICPC promptly began investigating the  confession by the senator and invited him for questioning in line with its mandate to investigate corrupt practices and other related offences.

But the Senator got his counsel, Donald Ajibowu of Jurisperitus Associates, to write the Commission and requested for his invitation to be deferred to 6th July, 2023 on account of ill health.

Shortly before his due date to appear before an ICPC team of investigators, Senator Bulkachuwa asked the court to stop the invitation and interrogation by the anti-corruption agency despite his lawyer giving a commitment that his client would honour the July 6 date.

The Senator filed a suit at the Federal High Court Abuja seeking “judicial interpretation of Section 1 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act 2017, which confers immunity on him from any civil or criminal litigation in respect of any utterance he makes on the floor of the Senate in his capacity as a serving Senator.”

Joined as respondents in the suit filed on 3rd July, 2023 are Attorney General of the Federation, the Clerk of the National Assembly, Department of State Services, the ICPC, and Nigeria Police Force.

In the Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/895/2023, Bulkachuwa sought the court’s declaration that the Commission’s invitation to appear before it was “ultra vires, illegal, arbitrary, oppressive, unconstitutional and a gross violation and a likelihood of continuous infraction of the applicant’s fundamental human right as guaranteed by Sections 34, 35, 36, 37, 41 and 46 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).”

Bulkachuwa further sought a declaration by the court that the applicant is covered and entitled to the constitutional privileges and protection offered as freedom of speech/expression by Section 39(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Parliamentary Immunity as enshrined in Section 1 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act 2017.

Other reliefs sought by the senator include a declaration that the applicant is entitled to freedom of speech/expression by Section 39(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and as exercise by his other Senators’ colleagues and having not been so afforded by the leadership of the Ninth (9th) Senate, cannot be held liable for the unintended inference of an inchoate speech/statement/expression.

He also sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents jointly and severally, particularly the 4th respondent, ICPC, acting directly or indirectly through their agents, officers, privies, assigns and any other persons by whomsoever or however constituted from inviting, harassing, intimidating and/or compelling the applicant to appear before the respondents pending the hearing and determination of Suit NFHC/ABJ/CS/895/2023 at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

 

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