Court summons Lagos speaker, other lawmakers over Ambode’s probe
– A Lagos high court has ordered the speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, and other lawmakers to appear before it over the ongoing probe of ex-governor Ambode
– The former governor had dragged the Lagos speaker and some members of the state assembly to court, accusing them of bias and misrepresentation of facts
– Ambode wants the court, among others, to restrain the lawmakers from summoning him to appear before a committee probing the procurement of 820 buses by his administration
A Lagos high court sitting in Ikeja on Tuesday, October 29, has ordered the speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, to appear before it in connection with the ongoing probe of the state’s ex-governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
The former Lagos state governor is being probed by the lawmakers over the procurement of 820 buses by his administration.
Ambode had instituted a suit against the state assembly to contest the constitutionality of the probe of the buses.
According to the former Lagos governor, the buses were procured based on budgetary approval as part of the Bus Reform Project of the state government which was designed to revolutionise public transportation in line with global best practices.
After hearing a motion ex-parte moved by Ambode’s lawyer, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), the presiding judge, Justice Y.A Adesanya, ordered the Lagos speaker and other defendants to appear before the court on Wednesday, October 30.
Apart from Obasa, other defendants in the suit are the house clerk, A.A Sanni; the chairman of the Ad hoc Committee set up by the house to probe the procurement, Fatai Mojeed and members of the committee.
The judge ordered the originating processes and all the accompanying processes filed by the ex-governor to be served on the defendants.
He also fixed October 30 for the hearing of the motion for interlocutory injunction.
According to his statement of claim before the court, Ambode said contrary to the lawmakers’ allegations, the procurement of the 820 buses was well captured in the 2018 Appropriation Law which was approved by the house.
Ambode also accused the state assembly of undermining his constitutional rights to a fair hearing, saying some lawmakers during their proceedings on August 27, 2019, vilified and disparaged him.
He said the lawmakers falsely accused him of purchasing the buses without budgetary approval and claimed that the procurement was a waste of public funds, before even probing the procurement.
Further accusing the state assembly of misrepresentation of facts of the issue, the ex-governor said he did not fail to honour the lawmakers’ invitation as they claimed.
Ambode explained that not invitation letter was sent to him by the lawmakers.
He said the lawmakers also falsely claimed that some commissioners who served under him indicted him in their testimonies before the committee probing the procurement.
According to him, the ex-commissioner whom the lawmakers claimed indicted him had made public statements denying such.
Ambode added the lawmakers had already adjudged him as having committed wastage of public fund by the procurement of the buses in question and had also already determined that the procurement was done by him as opposed to the state government.
He alleged that the lawmakers’ actions showed that they were biased against him and he believed that his right to fair hearing as guaranteed by the constitution had been seriously compromised by the defendants.
In view of these, the former Lagos governor, among others, wants the court’s declaration that the power of the house to pass a resolution to probe his conduct as governor is subject to the right to fair hearing as guaranteed by the constitution.
Ambode also wants the court to declare the resolution of the state assembly which set up the committee to probe the procurement as unconstitutional, null and void.
He also wants the court to restrain the lawmakers from claiming that the 820 buses were procured in breach of budgetary approval and to restrain them from summoning him to appear before the committee.