A Lawyer representing one of the contractors appearing before the Ekiti State Judicial Commission, Barrister Adeoye Aribasoye, has called for the disbandment of the panel over allegation that members are biased and grossly partisan.
The six-member panel, led by former Chief Judge of the State, Justice Silas Oyewole , was constituted by Fayose in May to probe the finances of the State between 2011 and 2014 when Fayemi was in the saddle.
Going by the commission’s time table, CASA Nigeria Limited , the construction company that built the State Civic Centre at Fajuyi area in Ado Ekiti under Kayode Fayemi’s government, was supposed to make ‘conditional appearance’ before the panel on September 5, 2017, as a
CASA’s Project Manager, Mr. Apata Ayodele, according to affidavit sworn to on the 5th September appealed for extension of time for him to appear , because the information about the time table was received late .
Aribasoye, who is the lawyer representing CASA , accused the panel of bias for allegedly foreclosing his client from appearing as a witness , despite being summoned to do so.
But the panel in its counter-affidavit to Aribasoye’s claim , said the lawyer was the architect of his own misfortune, accusing him of failing to file application to reopen his client’s case in time, in spite of opportunity availed him (Aribasoye).
At a press conference in Ado Ekiti on Sunday, Aribasoye contended that the reason why the panel alleged schemed his client out was that it didn’t want him to give evidence contained in its preliminary objection regarding the integrity of the commission’s members to do justice in the matter.
“When I appeared before the panel on September 5, I told them that my client will not be available on September 6 and they asked me to formally apply for extension of time with which I will reopen the case .. They said I should file all applications regarding this on or
before September 11, which I did.
“But to my surprise on Friday, October 6, the matter came up for argument and to my chagrin, the panel gave bench ruling in an issue that was argued for about 30 minutes.
“They didn’t even rise for a second to prepare the ruling which suggested that they had already written the ruling before appearance.
“This confirmed our fear that this panel had a predetermined mission. It was set up for a sinister motive and the members must disqualify themselves in line with the law”, he said .
He tendered a letter dated September 11, 2017 and addressed to the Commission’s Chairman to buttress his point that he applied for extension of time.
The lawyer cited the cases of Kenom Vs Tekan 2001 14 Nigeria Weekly Law Report(NWLR), Part 732 page 12 at 41 and FG Vs MKO Abiola , to substantiate his claim that the panel can no longer proceed on moral grounds.
Aribasoye said: “The supreme court’s members in the case of Abiola disqualified themselves based on allegation raised by GOK Ajayi(SAN) that the justices could not exhibit fairness and I want the panel to toe the same line”.
But a ruling delivered by Justice Oyewole , dismissed the application for CASA’s conditional appearance on the strength that the application was filed out of time.
“On September 11, we gave him(Aribasoye) the leave to cross examine witnesses he ought to cross examine on September 6 . We asked him to file whatever paper he wanted to file on or before September 11, but he didn’t file any paper and didn’t appear either to cross examine
“Having failed to appear, the witnesses were discharged . Again, with the way Mr. Aribasoye handled his client’s case, he was only interested in wasting the precious time of the commission”.
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