23rd March, 2012
Lagos lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo on Friday lost his bid to compel the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution, DPP, to prosecute the Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs, Alhaji Mohammed Dikko over alleged certificate forgery.
Justice Yetunde Idowu of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, struck out the suit filed by Keyamo.
In her judgement, Justice Idowu noted that she agreed with the arguments canvassed by the Attorney General of Lagos State, Mr. Ade Ipaye, that the application filed by Keyamo was premature and lack substance.
“In view of the foregoing, I hereby refuse the application,” she said.
The court also refused to grant the request of Keyamo for an Order of Mandamus to personally initiate criminal proceedings against the customs boss for same offence in the event that the DPP failed to do so.
Alhaji Dikko was alleged to have forged a West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) result and a Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) certificate.
Justice Idowu in her judgment also held that the respondent brought some germane issues that cannot just be swept under the carpet.
She observed that the applicant only brought before the court, copies of the certificates alleged to have been forged while the complainant, Olajide Ibrahim, did not honour invitations extended to him by the police investigating the matter.
Though the court has the discretion to grant an Order of Mandamus as sought by the applicant, Justice Idowu said that she refused to grant the order in view of the fact there is no sufficient evidence to support it.
The Lagos Attorney General (AG), Mr. Ade Ipaye had urged the court to refuse Keyamo’s application on the ground that it lacks merit.
Ipaye had told the court that the applicant failed to allow the police to enough time to conclude investigation into the matter before bringing it before the court.
He had argued further that the applicant’s client and the complainant, Olajide Ibrahim, failed to honour the invitation extended to him by the police to enable them to commence investigation into the allegation raised against the customs boss in the application.
The AG asked the court to strike out paragraphs containing such allegations against the Directorate, contending that the applicant’s averment in the said paragraphs were conclusions which he said violated the provision of Section 115 of the Evidence Act that only facts and the description of circumstances could be stated in an affidavit.
“Having regard to the facts of this present application, I know for a fact that the respondent is awaiting the report of investigation in order to decide whether an offence has been committed as the applicant’s investigations do not include the evidence of witnesses who are material to establishing the case of prosecution,” he submitted.
The applicant, Keyamo, in his submissions had accused the Lagos State DPP of covering up an offence of certificate forgery allegedly committed by the Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs, Dikko.
He urged the court to reject the DPP’s excuse that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Dikko for the alleged offence.
Keyamo had prayed the court to grant his prayer contained in his Motion on Notice, seeking an order of Mandamus to compel the DPP to prosecute the Customs boss or be allowed to personally do so.
The Lagos lawyer also in an affidavit dated 24 January 2012, filed in support of his Motion on Notice, alleged that if the DPP were to be sincere to its duty, it would have written a letter to the institutions which purportedly issued the allegedly forged certificates.
“That contrary to the deposition of the Respondent in paragraph 8 of counter-affidavit, the proof of evidence directly reveals a prima facie case against Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko.”
By Henry Ojelu