The Complete 2004 Laws of Nigeria

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TRIBUNALS OF INQUIRY ACT

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTION                                

  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.
  7. Interpreters.
  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.
  14.  Report.
  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 Inquiry.
  22.  Short title.

SCHEDULE

Forms A, BC and D

 

      TRIBUNALS OF INQUIRY ACT

An Act to empower the President to constitute Tribunals of Inquiry and other matters ancillary thereto.

[1966 No. 41.]

[2nd June, 1966]

[Commencement.]

  1. Power to constitute tribunal of inquiry

(1) The President (in this Act referred to as "the proper authority") may, whenever he
deems it desirable by instrument under his hand (in this Act referred to as "the instrument")
constitute one or more persons (in this Act referred to as "member" or "members") into 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.

  1. New members and alterations, etc., of instrument constituting a tribunal
    Notwithstanding anything contained in section 1 of this Act, the proper authority shall
    have power-

       (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.

3. Oath of members

(1) Every member of a tribunal shall, before entering upon his duties, make, and
subscribe to, an oath that he will faithfully and impartially and to the best of his ability 
discharge the duties devolving upon him under the inquiry, and if the inquiry is not to be
held in public, that he will not divulge the proceedings or the vote or opinion of the
members or any other matter relevant to the inquiry.

(2) Such oath may be taken under the Oaths Act; and in this Act, "oath" includes affirmation
and declaration.

[Cap. 01.]

  1. Tribunal may regulate its own proceedings

(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.

5. Powers of tribunal with regard to conduct of proceedings

Subject to the provisions of this Act, a tribunal shall have and may exercise any of the
following powers, that is to say-

      (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;

[Schedule. Form A.]

      (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 N20, 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 arrest;

[Schedule. Form B.]

      (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.

6. Powers of chairman to issue summons, etc.

Where more members than one constitute a tribunal, the chairman shall have power to
issue on behalf of the tribunal all such summonses, subpoenas and other processes and
make such necessary appointments as may be required under this Act either before or
during the inquiry until the submission of the tribunal's final report.

  1. Interpreters

Any interpreter appointed under the provisions of paragraph if) of section 5 shall, be-
fore entering upon his duties take and subscribe to the following oath before the members-

                   "I ........................................ do swear (or solemnly affirm or declare) that I will
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."

  1. Use of evidence taken under this Act in judicial proceedings

Evidence taken under this Act shall be inadmissible against any person in any civil or
criminal proceedings whatever, except in the case of a person charged with giving false
evidence before the members.

  1. Penalty for threats to witnesses
    Any person who--:-

    (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 attempt 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.

10. Penalty for failing to give evidence, etc.

Any person who, after service on him of a summons to attend as a witness or to produce a
book, document or any other thing and, notwithstanding any duty of secrecy however imposed, 
fails or refuses or neglects to do so or to answer any question put to him by
or with the concurrence of the tribunal shall be guilty of an offence, and liable on
summary conviction to a fine of N200 or to imprisonment for a term of six months:
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. Contempt of tribunal

(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
N200 or to imprisonment for a term of three months;

            (b)        on the order of the tribunal to a fine of N20, 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 (0 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 N20, such
costs and fine to be recoverable in the same manner as if they were imposed by a magistrate's court.

[Schedule. Form D.]

12. Contempt defined

( 1) For the purposes of section 11 of this Act, the following shall be deemed to be an
act of contempt

(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.

13. Witnesses' fees and interpreters' remunerations

Witnesses and interpreters and any other person attending at the request of a tribunal
or upon summons shall be paid such sums as allowances for expenses, as the case may
be, as a tribunal may, with the approval of the proper authority, direct, and such sums
shall be paid out of the public revenue.

14. Report

A tribunal shall make and furnish to the proper authority full report in writing of its
proceedings, findings and recommendations and record an opinion and reasons leading to
its conclusions; and any member dissenting from the conclusions or any part thereof,
shall note his reason for such dissent.

15. Order in relation to any property or matter dealt with in report

A tribunal shall, if so directed or required make any order in relation to any property
or other matter dealt with in its report; and such order when made may be delivered to the
Registrar of a High Court (which order the Registrar is empowered and required to receive
and register without payment of a fee) and when so delivered the order shall have
effect as a judgment of that High Court and may be enforced accordingly but shall not be
reviewed in any court by prerogative writ or otherwise howsoever and no appeal shall lie
therefrom.

16. Indemnity of members of tribunal

No member shall be liable to any action or suit for anything done or said by him as
such member.

17. Restriction of power to review, etc.

No defect whatever in an instrument or order or direction made or given by the proper
authority shall affect the validity of any proceeding, decision, finding or order made by a
tribunal under this Act, and no action or proceedings in the nature of quo warranto, certiorari, 
mandamus, prohibition, injunction or declaration against any such proceeding,
decision, finding or order, as the case may be, shall be entertained in any court of law.

18. Appearance of counsel

Any person whose conduct or affairs are the subject of inquiry under this Act or who
is in any way implicated or concerned in the matter under inquiry shall be entitled to be
represented by counsel at the whole of the inquiry, and subject to paragraph (d) of section 1 (2)
of this Act, any other person may, with the leave of the members, be represented in like manners.

19. Proper authority may restrict powers of tribunals

When setting up any tribunal the proper authority may direct that the tribunal shall not
exercise all the powers conferred on a tribunal by this Act and such directions shall be in
writing and shall specify which powers the tribunal shall not exercise.

20. Vacating of office by tribunal

A tribunal shall vacate office at such time as the proper authority may direct.

21. Preservation of power of Governor of a State to constitute Tribunal of Inquiry 
Nothing in this Act shall be construed as precluding the Governor of a State from
constituting a Tribunal of Inquiry to inquire into any matter in respect of which the House
of Assembly of that State has power to make law.

[1977 No.2.)

22. Short title

This Act may be cited as the Tribunals of Inquiry Act.

    SCHEDULE

[Section 5 (c).)

FORM A

Summons to witness

                                                                                                                                                               To            .

(name of person summoned and his calling and residence if known)

You are hereby summoned to appear before the ........................................................................... .

(particulars of tribunal)

………………………………………………….  at .................................................................... .

(place)

                                                  on the .............................. day of ......... 20 ................................... at   .......          .

o'clock or soon thereafter as you may be called there, to give evidence respecting the inquiry into

 the conduct or affairs of the              ….

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………......

(if the person summoned is to produce any documents etc., add) and you are required to bring with
you the following books, documents or other things, that is to say-

.................................................................... (specify the books, documents, or other things)

(a) .................................................................. .

(b) .................................................................. .

(c) ...........................        .

(d) ...........................        .

Herein fail not at your peril.

 

GIVEN under my hand at ................................. this ................. day ........................ 20 ........... .

……………………………………………..

Chairman or sole member of Tribunal

  

FORM B
[Section 5 (d).]

Warrant to arrest personfailing to attend on summons 
To any police officer and any other person authorised to effect arrest.

    WHEREAS a summons issued by this Tribunal (the ............................................................. .

(particulars of tribunal)

Tribunal) under section 5 of the Tribunals of Inquiry Act and dated the .............................. .

day of ............................................. has been duly served upon .................................................. .

......................................................................... of ............................................................................... .



 

 



 

(name of person summoned)

 

 

(address )



 

 



 

    AND whereas the said ................................................................................................................. .

(name of person summoned)

failed, refused, or neglected to obey the summons without proper excuse to the satisfaction of the
tribunal or any member thereof;

                                                                                                                                                               You are therefore hereby commanded forthwith to apprehend the said ...................................................................................................................... .

...................................................................................................................................................... and

(name of person to be arrested)

to bring him before me [or one of the members of the tribunal (if there be more than one member)]

                                                                                                                                                               at             .



 

 



 

GIVEN under my hand at

 

 

 

(place where person arrested is to be brought)

……………………… this ............. day of ........................ 20 ........... .

……………………………………………..

     Chairman or sale member of Tribunal

FORM C
[Section 11 (3).]

Summons to person charged with contempt



 

 



 

To AB…………………………………………………………………………………………..

(name of person summoned)

 

 

                                                                                                                                                               of             .

(address)

    You are hereby summoned to appear before the ................................................................... .

(particulars of tribunal)

                                                      at ................................ on the ...................................... day of ..... 20         .

(place)

 

FORM C-continued

at ........................ o'clock to show cause why you should not be judged to have committed an act of

contempt and be dealt with accordingly, in that you on the .................................... day of 20              .

(date of act of contempt) 
committed an act of contempt against members of the said tribunal or one of those members,

namely, by ........................................................................................................................................ .

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(state briefly the act of contempt complained of)

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

GIVEN under my hand at ................................. this ............. day of ........................ 20 ........... .

……………………………………………..

Chairman or sale member of Tribunal

FORM D
[Section 11 (4).]

Warrant to arrest on charge of contempt 
To any police officer and any other person authorised to effect arrest.

WHEREAS a summons issued by this Tribunal (the ................................................................ .

(particulars of tribunal) 
................................................................................... Tribunal) under section 11 of the Tribunals of

Inquiry Act, and dated the ................................................. day of ........................... 20 ........... .

has been duly served upon ............................................................................................................ .

(name of person served)

                                                                          of ;

(address) 
AND whereas the said ……………………………………………………………………………

(name of person servedi

has failed, refused, or neglected to obey the summons without proper cause to the satisfaction of
the tribunal or any member thereof;

                                                                                                                                                               You are therefore hereby commanded forthwith to apprehend the said ...................................................................................................................... .

(name of person to be arrested)

and to bring him before me [or any other members of the tribunal (if there be more than one mem-

                                                                                                                                                               ber)] at    .

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

(place where person arrested is to be brought)



 

 

FORM D-continued

GIVEN under my hand at ........................................... this .............. day of ........................... 20 ............. .

…………………………………………………

Chairman or sole member of Tribunal

 

                                   SUBSIDIARY LEGISLATION

                                   No Subsidiary Legislation