by Alli Mustapha
An Ikeja High Court held that former Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode cannot stop the state Assembly from probing him over his administration’s purchase of 820 buses for the state’s bus reform project.
Justice Yetunde Adesanya said In a one-hour long ruling that Ambode’s suit, which sought an injunction to restrain the Assembly from probing him, breached the doctrine of separation of powers.
In her words: “An ad-hoc committee is an investigative committee performing a fact finding function and not a court, judicial body or a tribunal. It is not set up to determine the civil rights and obligations of the claimant. In the same breath, an investigation is not an indictment, it precedes an indictment.”
She also added that “The claimant, in this instance, has not been indicted by the House of Assembly neither has the committee indicted the claimant by a mere invitation by summons to appear before it,”
The judge held that an invitation by the committee did not constitute a beach of the former governor’s fundamental right to fair hearing as contained in Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution.
“The ad-hoc committee is yet to carry out its constitutional function as contained in Section 128 and 129 of the Constitution.
“Assuming that the claimant’s claim of bias by the constituted ad-hoc committee is real and well founded that some members of the committee had concluded that the claimant is guilty of the allegation before inviting him to appear before the committee, this will still not amount to a threat to his fundamental right to fair hearing because the whole exercise is nothing more than an investigation,” she said.