Court summons Assembly speaker, others over Ambode’s probe
Ex-governor alleges bias, misrepresentation of facts by House
A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja yesterday ordered the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa and other committee members to appear before it in connection with the ongoing probe of procurement of 820 buses by the administration of former Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The presiding judge, Justice Y.A. Adesanya, asked them to appear before the court today, October 30, 2019, the same day that the Assembly ordered Ambode to appear before it.
Justice Adesanya gave the order after hearing a motion ex-parte moved by Ambode’s lawyer, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN).
Other defendants ordered to appear before the court by 9:00 a.m. today include the Clerk of the House, A. A. Sanni, who signed the newspaper notice inviting Ambode to the House by 2:00 p.m., Chairman of the ad-hoc committee set up by the House to probe the procurement, Fatai Mojeed and members of the committee, which include Gbolahan Yishawu, A. A. Yusuff, Yinka Ogundimu, Mojisola Lasbat Meranda, M. L. Makinde, Kehinde Joseph, T. A. Adewale and O. S. Afinni.
The judge ordered the originating processes and all the accompanying processes filed by the claimant (Ambode) to be served on the defendants and subsequently fixed today for hearing of motion for interlocutory injunction.
According to his statement of claim before the court, Ambode said that contrary to deliberate misrepresentation of facts by the lawmakers, the procurement of the 820 buses was well captured in the 2018 Appropriation Law, which was duly approved by the House.
He added that having prescribed the manner of withdrawal of funds in sections 3 and 4 of the 2018 Appropriation Law, it was unconstitutional for the House to attach another condition in Section 9 of the law for further approval to be sought before incurring any expenditure on the purchase of the buses.
Highlighting the specific breach of his constitutional rights to fair-hearing by the House, the former governor said that on August 27, 2019 during proceedings of the Assembly, some lawmakers thoroughly vilified and disparaged him as having purchased the buses without budgetary approval and that the procurement was a waste of public funds, while at the end of the proceedings, the House resolved to constitute an ad-hoc committee to probe the procurement.
He said it was surprising that the very lawmakers who contributed actively in vilifying, disparaging and denigrating him constituted the bulk of the members of the committee, which was a clear derogation of his right to fair-hearing.
Ambode added that in continuation of deliberate misrepresentation of facts of the issue, the House falsely claimed that an invitation had been extended to him to appear before the committee, but that he failed to honour the said invitation.
The former governor, who stated that the House committee and indeed the entire members of the House had already adjudged him as having committed wastage of public fund by the procurement of the buses in question and had also already determined that the procurement was done by him as opposed to the state government, said it was obvious that the lawmakers were totally biased against him.
He, therefore, sought, among others, the court’s declaration that the power of the House to pass a resolution under Section 128 (1) of the Constitution to cause an inquiry into his conduct as governor is subject to right to fair-hearing as guaranteed by Section 36 (1) of the Constitution.
He also wants a declaration that the resolution of the House setting up a nine-man committee to investigate all transactions in respect of the 820 buses is unconstitutional, null and void.