Ambode loses bid to stop probe by lawmakers over purchase of 820 buses
• You can’t make court cripple judiciary, judge tells him
• Ex-gov appeals for retrial of case
• Assembly summons contractors over Sangotedo housing scheme
A Lagos High Court in Ikeja yesterday held that former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode could not stop his probe by the state’s House of Assembly over purchase of 820 buses for Bus Reform Project.
In her one-hour ruling, Justice Yetunde Adesanya said that Ambode’s suit, which sought an injunction to restrain the Assembly from probing him, breached the doctrine of separation of powers.She said: “An ad-hoc committee charged to investigate Ambode is an investigative committee performing a fact-finding function and not a court, judicial body or a tribunal. It is not set up to determine the civil rights and obligations of the claimant.
“In the same breath, an investigation is not an indictment, it precedes an indictment. The claimant, in this instance, has not been indicted by the House of Assembly neither has the committee indicted the claimant by a mere invitation by summons to appear before it.”
The judge held that an invitation by the committee did not constitute a breach of the former governor’s fundamental right to fair-hearing as contained in Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution. Justice Adesanya, who described Ambode’s suit as an attempt to invoke judicial interference in the powers of the legislature, said: “I hereby find that the claimant’s action is an invitation to the court to cripple the legislative exercise of the statutory power of the Lagos State House of Assembly under Section 128 and 129 of the 1999 Constitution.
“That is not the function of the court, and no court of law should accede such invitation. The claimant’s suit is hereby struck out.”Meanwhile, Ambode has filed his notice of appeal.A copy of the appeal document showed that the former governor is seeking an order of the Appeal Court restraining the lawmakers from going ahead or taking further steps in respect of the probe pending the final determination of the appeal.He also wants the court to make an order restraining the lawmakers from taking any steps that will deprive him of his personal right to liberty pending the determination of the appeal.
In a 17-paragraph affidavit deposed to by a legal practitioner, Olufeyijimi Tayo-Tiwo, the former governor asked the Appeal Court to set aside the decision of the lower court and an order remitting the matter back to the Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Kazeem Alogba, for reassignment to another judge for trial.
In another development, the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Housing has summoned contractors responsible for the delay in the delivery of Sangotedo Housing Scheme in Eti-Osa Local Council of Lagos State to a meeting at the Assembly Complex in Ikeja.
The committee also gave April 29, 2020 as ultimatum for the submission of keys by all contractors involved.The summon followed last week’s joint inspection of the scheme by the House Committee on Housing and Commissioner for Housing, Moruf Akinderu-Fatai.
At the meeting, chairman of the committee, Bisi Yusuf, had expressed a great displeasure over the unnecessary delay in the delivery of the housing scheme while also lambasting some of the contractors for the shoddy work being done. Yussuf said that contractors who fail to yield to the warnings given by the committee would have their contracts re-determined and be made to refund excess payments to the state government.
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