Published By: Kazeem Ugbodaga
18th October, 2021
By Akin Kuponiyi
A Federal High Court in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Monday summoned Ogun State House of Assembly over alleged financial scam that has rocked Ogun State Property Investment Corporation, OPIC.
The court wants the Assembly to appear before it to show cause within seven days, why it should not be restrained from proceeding with the case of or setting the law against the former Managing Director of OPIC, Mr. Jide Odusolu.
The presiding Judge, Peter Lifu made the order sequel to an application filed and argued before the court by Odusolu’s counsel, Mr Adetunji Adedoyin-Adeniyi.
Adetunji urged the court to grant interim reliefs contained in the motion exparte, but the court ordered the respondents-IG, DIG, AIG, Ogun State House of Assembly and the Clerk of the House to show cause upon being served with the order and the court processes, while they should not be restrained.
Ogun State House of Assembly during its plenary proceedings on September 21, 2012, had purported to adopt the report of its Committee on Anti-Corruption and Public Accounts, which claimed to have investigated the finances of OPIC and discovered that huge sums of money were missing from OPIC accounts.
Odusolu had filed a suit before the Federal High Court, against the Inspector-General of Police, the 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.
He is seeking declarations that the proceedings of the Assembly and the report of the Committee which it purportedly adopted constituted an infringement on his fundamental right to fair hearing,
He contended that Ogun State House of Assembly lacked the competence to investigate alleged crime, as the Chairman of the Committee that investigated OPIC funds was himself an interested party who served together with him in the previous administration.
Odusolu alleged that the Chairman of the committee inspected some OPIC projects which he now claimed was not executed.
He is also seeking an order to restrain the Assembly from deploying the report to initiate any criminal proceeding against him and to restrain the police from acting on the said report pending the hearing and final determination of the substantive suit.
In an affidavit sworn to by Odusolu, he enumerated series of projects executed by OPIC, and stated that the accounts of the company had been audited by professionals and that no fund was missing.
He said he was being persecuted by the Committee and some Assembly members.
He demanded N10 billion as punitive and aggravated damages against the Ogun State House of Assembly for the violation of his fundamental rights,.
Odusolu is also seeking the following reliefs from the court:
*A declaration that he is entitled to his liberty and freedom to move freely, within Lagos State or any part of Nigeria, without let or hindrance from the Respondents, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever in exercising of his fundamental rights.
*A declaration that he is entitled to fair hearing in the determination of his civil rights and obligations by the Ogun State House of Assembly as enshrined under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
*A declaration that the Ogun State House of Assembly is not empowered in law to conduct investigations on allegations of crime or to make findings and conclusions involving allegations of crime against him in flagrant violation of his fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
*An order nullifying, annulling, invalidating and setting aside the report, decisions and conclusions of the Assembly made against him and in particular the proceedings of the House of Assembly on 17thSeptember, 2021.
The case has been adjourned till 1st November, 2021, for hearing to commence.