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TRIBUNALS OF INQUIRY ACT
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
1. Power to constitute tribunal of inquiry
2. New members, and alterations, etc. of instrument constituting a tribunal
3. Oath of members.
4. Tribunal may regulate its own proceedings.
5. Powers of tribunal with regard to conduct of proceedings.
6. Powers of Chairman to issue summons, etc.
8. Use of evidence taken under this Act in judicial proceedings.
9. Penalty for threats to witnesses.
10. Penalty for failing to give evidence, etc.
11. Contempt of tribunal.
12. Contempt defined.
13. Witnesses’ fees and interpreters’ remunerations.
15. Order in relation to any property or matter dealt with in report.
16. Indemnity of members of tribunal.
17. Restriction of power to review, etc.
18. Appearance of counsel.
19. Proper authority may restrict powers of tribunals.
20. Vacating of office by tribunal.
21. Preservation of power of Governor of a State to constitute tribunal of enquiry.
22. Short title.
23. Schedule: Forms A, B, C And D
TRIBUNALS OF INQUIRY ACT
An Act to empower the President to constitute Tribunals of Inquiry and other matters ancillary thereto.
[Commencement] [2nd June, 1966]
1.(1) The President (hereinafter in this Act referred to as “the proper authority”) may, whenever he deems it desirable, by instrument under his hand (hereafter in this Act referred to as “the instrument”) constitute one or more persons (hereafter in this Act referred to as “member” or members”) a tribunal to inquire into any matter or thing or into the conduct or affairs of any person in respect of which in his opinion an inquiry would be for the public welfare; and the proper authority may by the same instrument or by an order appoint a secretary to the tribunal who shall perform such duties as the members shall prescribe.
(2) The instrument shall-
(a) set out the terms of reference of the tribunal;
(b) if there are more members than one, direct which member shall be chairman;
(c) specify the quorum of the members;
(d) direct whether or not the inquiry is to be held in public:
Provided that if the inquiry is to be held in public, the tribunal shall have power, in its absolute discretion, to admit or exclude the public or any member of the public or the press from any meeting of the tribunal;
(e) direct where and when such inquiry shall be made and the manner in which the report thereof shall be rendered.
(a) if any person appointed a member or secretary is at any time unable to act, to appoint another fit person in the place of the person unable to act;
(b) whenever he deems it desirable, by an order to add to, alter or revoke the instrument or the terms of reference of a tribunal;
(2) Such oath may be taken under the Oaths Act; and in Cap. 333. this Act, “oath” includes affirmation and declaration.
4.(1) Unless the instrument otherwise prescribes, a tribunal may regulate its own proceedings save that, if the members shall, in any case, be equally divided on any question that arises during the proceedings of the tribunal, the chairman shall have a second or casting vote.
(2) Such Regulations may confer on the tribunal power to appoint, at its discretion, suitable persons to assist in the preparation or presentation of evidence for its purposes.
(a) the power to procure all such evidence, written or oral, and to examine all such persons as witnesses as the tribunal may think it necessary or desirable to procure or examine;
(b) the power to require such evidence to be given on oath as is required of a witness testifying before a magistrate’s court;
(c) the power to summon any person in Nigeria to attend any meeting of the tribunal to give evidence or produce any document or other thing in his possession and to examine him as a witness or require him to produce any document or other thing in his possession, subject to all just exceptions. Summonses issued under this paragraph may be in Form A in the Schedule to this Act, and shall be served by the police or by such person as the members may direct;
(d) the power to issue a warrant to compel the attendance of any person who, after having been summoned to attend fails or refuses or neglects to do so and does not excuse such failure or refusal or neglect to the satisfaction of the tribunal, and to order him to pay all costs which may have been occasioned in compelling his attendance or by reason of his failure or refusal or neglect to obey the summons, and also to fine such person a sum not exceeding twenty naira, such fine to be recoverable in the same manner as a fine imposed by a magistrate’s court. A warrant issued under this paragraph may be in Form B in the Schedule to this Act and may be executed by any member of the Police force and by any person authorised by an area or customary court, or local government authority to effect arrests;
(e) the power to admit any evidence, whether written or oral, notwithstanding that such evidence might have been inadmissible in civil or criminal proceedings before a court, and power to act on such evidence;
(f) the power to appoint any person, whether or not such person is in the government service, to act as interpreter in any matter brought before it and to translate any books, papers or writings produced to it;
(g) the power to enter upon any land or premises personally or by any agent or agents duly authorised in writing by the members, for any purpose which, in their opinion is material to the inquiry, and in particular, for the purpose of obtaining evidence or information or of inspecting or taking copies of any documents required by or which may be of assistance to, the tribunal, and for safeguarding any such document or property which in the opinion of the members ought to be safeguarded for any purpose of the inquiry.
I…..…. do swear (or solemnly affirm or declare) faithfully perform the duties entrusted to me, and will truly translate or explain all documents entrusted to me for such purpose to the best of my ability, and that I will not except as authorised by the members directly or indirectly reveal the contents of such documents as may be entrusted to me, nor the evidence given by witnesses which may have been interpreted by me.
(a) threatens, insults or injures any person for having given evidence or on account of the evidence given before a tribunal; or
(b) hinders or attempts to hinder any person, or by threats deters or attempts to deter any person, from giving evidence before a tribunal; or
(c) gives false evidence upon oath before a tribunal; or
(d) being duly appointed as interpreter, under this Act, wilfully gives false interpretation of any evidence or makes an untrue translation of any book, paper or writing; shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.
Provided that no person shall be bound to incriminate himself and every witness shall, in respect of any evidence written by him for or given by him before the members, be entitled to the same privilege to which he would have been entitled if giving evidence before a court of justice.
11 .(1) Any person who commits an act of contempt, whether the act is or is not committed in the presence of the members sitting in an inquiry, shall be liable-
(a) on summary conviction before a court of competent jurisdiction to a fine of two hundred naira or to imprisonment for a term of three months:
(b) on the order of the tribunal to a fine of twenty naira, such fine being recoverable in the same manner as if it were imposed by a magistrate.
(2) An appeal shall lie to the High Court within whose area of jurisdiction the act concerned was committed against any order made by a tribunal under subsection 1(b) of this section as if such order were a decision of a magistrate against which an appeal lay.
(3) Where an act of contempt is alleged to have been committed but not in the presence of the members sitting in an inquiry, the tribunal may by summons in Form C or to the like effect in the Schedule to this Act require the offender to appear before the tribunal, at a time and place specified in the summons to show cause why he should not be judged to have committed an act of contempt and be dealt with accordingly. Summonses issued under this subsection shall be served by the police or by such other person as the tribunal may direct.
(4) If any person who has been summoned in accordance with subsection (3) of this section fails or refuses or neglects to attend at the time and place specified in the summons, the tribunal may issue a warrant in Form D or to like effect in the Schedule to this Act to compel the attendance of such person and order such person to pay all costs which may have been occasioned in compelling his attendance or by his failure or refusal or neglect to obey the summons, and may in addition fine such person a sum of twenty naira, such costs and fine to be recoverable in the same manner as if they were imposed by a magistrate’s court.
(a) any act of disrespect and any insult or threat offered to a tribunal or any member thereof while sitting in a tribunal;
(b) any act of disrespect and any insult or threat offered to a member at any other time and place on account of his proceedings in his capacity as a member;
(c) any publication calculated to prejudice an inquiry or any proceedings therein.
(2) No punishment for contempt shall be imposed by a tribunal until the members shall have heard the offender in his defence.