The order of the State High Court, on February 15, 2021, which quashed the impeachment of the former Deputy Governor of Imo State, Jude Agbaso, was a consent judgment, an off shoot of an agreement reached between the State government, the State House of Assembly and Mr. Agbaso.
The agreement reached by all parties, among other things ordered the restoration of Mr. Agbaso’s rights and benefits from the time of his removal to the period his tenure elapsed.
Agbaso was impeached on March 28, 2013 by the State House of Assembly following the recommendation of the seven-man impeachment panel set up by then state Chief Judge, Justice Benjamin Njemanze, which investigated the allegations of gross misconduct levelled against him by then Governor Rochas Okorocha.
The former deputy governor was accused of acts of grave corruption, including the demand of a bribe of N458 million from a contractor, J-Pross Construction Company and a bottle of Red Label Wine.
According to the counsel to Agbaso, Chijioke Emeka, his client and the defendants which included the state governor, the State House of Assembly and the chief Judge of the State also requested that the terms of settlement be used as judgement in court.
Delivering the judgment on Monday, Justice Opara said that he was giving the consent judgment based on the terms of settlement reached by parties in the matter.
Agbaso’s counsel disclosed that the consent judgment had nullified the impeachment of his client on March 28, 2013, as the deputy governor of the State.
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 in court, told journalists that he was elated to be “vindicated” eight years after he was accused of being involved in fraud.
He accused former Governor Okorocha of intentionally framing him up “just to get me out of the way.”