From Everest Ezihe, Owerri
An Owerri High court on Monday nullified the 2013 impeachment of Jude Agbaso as Deputy Governor of Imo state eight years after he was sacked from office
Recall that the state House of Assembly had on March 28, 2013, impeached Agbaso as the deputy governor of the State on the allegations that he collected N458m and red label as bribes from a Lebanese owned construction firm, J- pros.
Agbaso who was running mate to Rochas Okorocha and both overwhelmingly won the governorship election in 2011, later had a frosty relationship with his principal, who was said to have instigated his removal from office.
The deputy governor has however, persistently contested his impeachment in courts.
Delivering the judgment on Monday, the trial judge, Justice I. S Opara, said that he was giving the consent judgment since the parties had opted to settle out of court.
Counsel to Agbaso, Chijioke Emeka, had informed the court that his client and the defendants which included the state governor, the State House of Assembly and the chief Judge of the State had on February 1, drafted terms of settlements and filed same in court on February 2.
In his brief judgment, the judge said that the terms of settlements had become a consent judgement of the court.
The counsel said that the judgment had restored his client’s entitlements as a former deputy governor of the State and had been legally fit to hold public positions again.
He said that the parties had to “shift grounds” in order to reach truce on the terms of settlements.
Agbaso who was visibly present in court, told journalists that he felt elated to be “vindicated” eight years after he was accused of being involved in fraud.
He accused Okorocha of intentionally framing him up “just to get me out of the way.”
Agbaso said “it has been a torturous eight years, but I thank the good people of Imo state who committed the disrupted mandate to me in 2011. I thank the government of Senator Hope Uzodinma for its bold stand which hastened the resolution.
“I also thank my lawyers for their tenacity since 2013, taking the case up to the Supreme Court and back to the High Court without charging professional fees.”