Shaibu: saved by immunity clause
A criminal case of alleged tax clearance certificate forgery preferred against Edo State Deputy Governor, Hon. Philip Shaibu, has been struck out by an Benin High Court.
Justice Esohe Ikponmwen who struck out the suit marked 8/ICPC/1/13 and dated October 8, 2013, insisted that the decision was based on his new status as the Deputy Governor of the state.
She said the Court derives it power from Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution which confers immunity against prosecution on Hon. Philip Shaibu who “has metamorphosed to a Deputy Governor.”
Shaibu was a lawmaker in the State House of Assembly, representing Etsako West Constituency II, when he was alleged to have made a false declaration to the officers of Edo Inland Revenue Service by claiming that he was an employee of Zanote Ventures Nigeria Limited from 2003 to 2006.
He was also alleged to used the document in 2006 to seek his election in 2007 to the State House of Assembly.
Giving her ruling on Monday, the trial Judge, Justice Ikponmwen said: “The Deputy Governor of Edo State can no longer stand trial in this Court by virtue of the immunity he enjoys under Section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Consequently, in my considered view, it is proper for the accused to be discharged…,” the Judge said.
Justice Ikponmwen while relying on Section 286 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which clarified on Civil and Criminal Acts, dismissed the charges following the application of the Counsel to the accused, Ken Mozia (SAN), who cited relevant authorities to convince the judge.
Counsel to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Godson Igbadume, had earlier opposed Mozia’s application over what he called prolonged adjournment to delay the trial.