Justice Peter Odo Lifu sitting in Federal High Court, Lagos on Friday restrained members of Ogun State House of Assembly from deploying the report to initiate any criminal complaint against Mr. Babajide Odusola, a former Managing Director of the Ogun Property Investment Corporation (OPIC).
Justice Lifu also declared that the proceedings of the Assembly and the report of the committee, which it purportedly adopted, constitute an infringement on Odusola’s fundamental rights to a fair hearing.
Justice Lifu made the above orders and declarations while granting an Exparte application filed and argued by Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa (SAN) and Mr Adetunji Adedoyin-Adeniyi, who are counsel to the applicant.
The judge said that all the reliefs granted will subsist till the hearing and determination of the fundamental rights Enforcement suit brought against the Inspector-General of Police and others.
The former OPIC Managing Director, Odusola, had dragged the IGP, the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 2, the Commissioner of Police in Ogun State, the Ogun State House of Assembly and the Attorney-General of the State as respondents, in a suit numbered FHC/L/CS/1273/2021.
The judge had sometimes on October 18, summoned all the respondents to appear before the court and give reasons why the reliefs sought not be granted, and he adjourned the matter till Monday, November 1.
When the matter came up last Monday, none of the respondents was in court, and the judge adjourned till today, for hearing of the Exparte application.
At the resumed hearing of the application today, while there was no legal representation from the side of the police, F. E. Bolarinwa, chief State Counsel, from the Ministry of Justice, who represented the Ogun State’s Attorney-General and House of Assembly, told the court that they ought to have filed responses to the applicant’s processes, but the deponent to the application who left Abeokuta to Lagos to do the filing has not been seeing for some days now.
The counsel, therefore appealed to court for a short date, to enable them to file a counter in opposition to the suit.
Responding, Mr. Adegboruwa (SAN) while called the court’s to the failure of the respondents to appear before the court or file any processes, on two occasions that the matter came up.
Adegboruwa (SAN) while citing plethoras of authorites guiding fundamental rights procedure suit, urged the court to grant the Exparte appllication filed by the applicant.
Following the submissions of the counsel, Justice Lifu, acceded to the applicant’s request and granted all the reliefs sought in the Exparte application.
The judge adjourned the matter till January 13, 2022, for hearing of the substantive suit.
The Assembly, during its plenary on September 21, 2012, had adopted the report of its Committee on Anti-Corruption and Public Accounts, which claimed to have investigated the finances of OPIC and huge sums of money were missing from OPIC accounts.
But the former Managing Director, Odusolu had instituted the suit against all the respondents and sought declarations that the proceedings of the Assembly and the report of the committee, which it purportedly adopted, constitute an infringement on his fundamental rights to a fair hearing, that Ogun State House of Assembly lacks the competence to investigate an alleged crime, that the chairman of the committee that allegedly investigated OPIC funds was an interested party, who served together with Odusolu in the previous administration and even inspected some OPIC projects, which he now claimed have not been executed.
He also sought an order of injunction to restrain the Assembly from deploying the report to initiate any criminal complaint against him before the police and to restrain the police from acting on the said report pending the hearing and final determination of the suit in court.
Odusolu backed his application with a 40-paragraph affidavit deposed to by himself. He traced the series of projects executed by OPIC, that the accounts of OPIC have been audited by professionals and no fund was missing at all.