An Ikeja Hugh Court, presided over by Justice Yetunde Adesanya on Thursday, February 27, granted the Lagos State House of Assembly leave to proceed with the probe of former governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, over procurement of 820 buses for public transportation allegedly without due process.
Ambode had dragged the state House of Assembly before the court over its decision to probe his purchase of 820 buses during his administration.
The House, however, suspended the probe following an order of the court, which directed parties to the suit to maintain status quo, pending the determination of a suit filed by the former governor
Defendants in the suit are: the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa; Clerk of the House, Mr A.A. Sanni; Chairman of the House Ad-hoc Committee set up by the House to probe the procurement, Fatai Mojeed and members of the Committee, including: Hons Gbolahan Yishawu, A.A Yusuff, Yinka Ogundimu, Mojisola Lasbat Meranda, M.L Makinde, Kehinde Joseph, T.A Adewale and O.S Afinni.
The former governor had challenged the House competence competence to probe him, following argument by his counsel, Mr Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, and counsel to the lawmakers, Mr Olukayode Enitan, SAN.
In his statement of claim, Ambode had averred that contrary to “deliberate misrepresentation of facts by the lawmakers, the procurement of the 820 buses was well captured in the 2018 Appropriation Law, which was duly approved by the House.
“In section 1 of the Bill, the 1st Defendant (House of Assembly) authorized the total budget for the year 2018 to be one trillion, forty six billion, one hundred and twenty one million, one hundred and eighty one thousand, six hundred and eighty naira, (N1,046,121,181,680.00), comprising of three hundred and forty seven billion, thirty eight million, nine hundred and thirty eight thousand, eight hundred and seventy two naira, (N347,038,938,872.00), only and six hundred and ninety nine billion, eighty two million, two hundred and forty two thousand, eight hundred and eighty naira, (N699,082,242,808.00) only as recurrent and capital expenditures respectively.
“Part of the items authorized by the Bill under Capital Expenditure was: “LAGBUS Public Transport Infrastructure (MEPB); part financing of 820 buses,” which was item 8 under schedule 1- Part C of the Bill.”
But in her ruling, Justice Adesanya struck out the suit, stressing that the suit lacks competence and will not stop the House of Assembly from carrying out its constitutional function.
Ambode had sought “a declaration that it is not lawful for the defendants to represent or continue to represent to the public that the claimant, Akinwunmi Ambode, procured 820 buses in breach of budgetary approval.
“A declaration that the powers of the 1st defendant under sections 103, 128 and 129 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, does not include power to indict the claimant as contemplated by sections 66(1)(h), 137(1)i and 182(1)i of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.
“An injunction restraining the defendants whether by themselves, their servants, agents and or representatives from compelling the claimant, in any manner whatsoever, to appear before the defendants pursuant to the resolution passed by the defendants on 27th August, 2019 or any other resolution passed in respect of the subject matter of this suit.
“An injunction restraining the defendants whether by themselves, their servants, agents and or representatives from representing or continue to represent to the public that the claimant, Akinwunmi Ambode, procured 820 buses in breach of budgetary approval.”