The Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday granted a request by the immediate-past Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, to amend his suit filed against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and different panels set up by the state government to probe his eight-year administration.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in his ruling, dismissed the objection by the Imo State Government to the proposed amendment.
Justice Mohammed, who noted that the proposed amendment, which sought to correct his lawyer’s mistakes in the the processes earlier filed, was not to change the substance of the suit.
According to him, it is not an abuse of court process as alleged by the respondents’ lawyer.
The judge ruled that in line with the precedent set by Supreme Court, the preliminary objection, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case, could not stop the plaintiff from carrying out the amendment of an error noticed in his processes.
He added that when the court was confronted with two competing applications with one seeking to breathe life into the suit and the other seeking to kill it, the court must first hear the one seeking to breathe life.
Mohammed ruled: “A party who notices defects in his processes can correct it and the preliminary objection will not stop the correction.
“The application for amendment is well founded and it is accordingly granted as prayed.”
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Okorocha’s lawyer, Oba Maduabuchi (SAN), had said the amendment sought to correct the mistakes committed by his secretary, while typing the document filed in court.
But the Imo State Government through its Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Cyprian Akaolisa, opposed the application.
Akaolisa argued that by virtue of judicial authorities, since he had filed a notice of objection against the suit, the plaintiff was not permitted to amend the suit.
He added that the plaintiff failed to point out the aspects of the suit sought to be amended.
However, EFCC’s lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho, did not oppose the application for amendment.
Okorocha, who currently represents Imo West in the Senate, had, on May 18, filed his suit seeking an order stopping the 48 respondents in the suit from probing “purported financial infractions” said to have been committed during his tenure as Governor of the state between May 2011 and May 2019.
NAN reports that while the EFCC is the 1st respondent, the 2nd to the 48th respondents are the Attorney-General of Imo State and members of the five panels set up by the Imo Government to probe previous administrations in the state.
Justice Mohammed, therefore, adjourned the case until October 15 for mention.