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N2.5b Dispute: Court Bars Ogun Lawmakers From Prosecuting Ex-OPIC MD

A Federal High Court in Lagos has restrained the Ogun State House of Assembly from using its probe report to initiate a criminal complaint against a former Managing Director of the Ogun Property Investment Corporation (OPIC), Babajide Odusola.

Justice Peter Odo Lifu declared that the procedure through which the Assembly reached the report which it purportedly adopted, constitute an infringement on Odusola’s fundamental rights to a fair hearing.

The judge also declared that the lawmakers lacked the competence to investigate an alleged crime, noting that the probe committee chairman was an interested party, having served together with Odusolu in the previous administration and even inspected some OPIC projects, which he then claimed had not been executed.

Justice Lifu made the ruling while granting an ex parte application filed and argued by the applicant’s counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN and Adetunji Adedoyin-Adeniyi.

He held that all the reliefs would subsist till the hearing and determination of the fundamental rights enforcement suit brought against the Inspector-General of Police and others.

The OGHA during the plenary on September 21, 2012, adopted the report of its Committee on Anti-Corruption and Public Accounts, which allegedly investigated OPIC’s finances and concluded that N2,579,771,717.71 was unaccounted for under Odusolu’s watch.
The Assembly also directed Odusolu to return the N40million that was allegedly unaccounted for in the year 2019, into the state government’s purse within six months.

But Odusolu alleged victimisation, witch-hunt, procedural irregularities and rights violation by the lawmakers.

He filed the suit, numbered FHC/L/CS/1273/2021, listing the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 2, the Commissioner of Police in Ogun State and the Ogun State House of Assembly as respondents.

The applicant is seeking declarations that the OGHA proceedings and the report of the Committee which it purportedly adopted constitute an infringement on his fundamental right to a fair hearing.

At the resumed hearing of the application Friday, there was no legal representation from the police, but F. E. Bolarinwa from the Ministry of Justice represented the Ogun State Attorney-General and House of Assembly.

He prayed for a short date to enable both defendants to file a counter application.But Adegboruwa, who drew attention to the failure of the respondents to appear before the court or file any processes, prayed the court to grant the ex parte application.Justice Lifu upheld his prayer and adjourned till January 13, 2022, for hearing of the substantive suit.

 

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