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Oyo CJ quashes Akala indictment

Posted by By AKEEB ALARAPE, Ibadan on 2007/06/17 | Views: 460 |

Oyo CJ quashes Akala indictment


Relief eventually came the way of Oyo State Governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, Friday, as the newly appointed Acting Chief Judge (ACJ) for the state, Mr. Justice Afolabi Adeniran, eventually quashed the report of the Administrative Panel of Inquiry, which indicted him of misappropriation of public funds.

Relief eventually came the way of Oyo State Governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, Friday, as the newly appointed Acting Chief Judge (ACJ) for the state, Mr. Justice Afolabi Adeniran, eventually quashed the report of the Administrative Panel of Inquiry, which indicted him of misappropriation of public funds.

The judge also set aside the White Paper issued and gazetted by the past administration on the panel report.
But it was not an easy task for the Number One Judge in the state as Chief Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), counsel to the former governor of the state, Senator Rasidi Ladoja, openly accused the ACJ of corruption and bias in his resolve to hear and determine the case yesterday.

“I want this court to recuse itself from hearing the case because you have exhibited enough bias. Firstly, processes were filed in secrecy with active connivance of your Lordship. It was your plan to hear this case without our knowledge. You have interest in this case.

“You have just be sworn-in as the Acting Chief Judge of the state, and you will like to protect interest of your kinsman -Akala. You are both from Ogbomoso. Ladoja was the governor who during his tenure appointed your brother, John Olagoke Ige as the state Acting Chief Judge, and removed you.
“I know naturally you will not like him. Akala now as the governor has re-appointed you. I do not have confidence in you. My client, Ladoja does not have confidence in you. So, the best thing to do is to excuse yourself from the case,” Akeredolu railed against the judge.

Akeredolu, representing Ladoja, had applied to join in the case for Ladoja to defend his action after the judge had refused the application of members of the Administrative Panel to join as an interested party.
Adeniran was however unperturbed with the attack by Akeredolu, saying he would not be intimidated by anybody.

“It is fast becoming a practice of counsel in this jurisdiction to allege bias anytime court judgments do not favour you. I refuse to recuse myself from the case. You can go to blazes.

You are one of those breaking the legal profession”, the judge fired back at Ladoja’s counsel.
But Akeredolu would not allow him to go as he replied, ‘If you say I am one of those breaking the legal profession, you are also one of those destroying the profession’.

He eventually stormed out of the court saying the judiciary in the state has been politicized.
Counsel to Akala, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, in his argument, urged the court to set aside the indictment, saying there was no legal instrument setting-up the panel, which report indicted the new governor.

“There was no such law which empowers the governor of the state to set-up the panel. The gazette does not show the source of power or authority. I hereby urge your lordship to grant all the prayer sought in the originating summon”, Fagbemi said, citing the case of Atiku Abubakar versus Attorney General of the Federation.

After about an hour adjournment, Adeniran later delivered his ruling around 4.41p.m granting all the relief sought by Akala, especially that the report be quashed because there was no enabling law setting up the panel that submitted it. He also set aside the White Paper issued on the report and gazette by the state.
Meanwhile, Ladoja’s former Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu, has described the judgment as ‘criminal,’ saying it would be appealed on Monday.

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