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820 Bus Purchase: Ambode appeals case, seeks restraining order over probe

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AKINWUMI Ambode, former Governor of Lagos stjoate has filed a notice of appeal restraining the lawmakers from taking further steps in probing him, pending the final determination of the lawsuit.

This application comes after the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos struck out a suit filed by Ambode against the Lagos State Assembly and others over probe on purchase of 820 buses during his administration.

The Assembly had set up an Ad-committee to investigate the purchase of 820 buses by the former governor with claims that it was bought outside budgetary approval.

Ambode in October 2019, approached the court to stop the Assembly from investigating the purchase claiming that the Assembly was ‘deliberately misrepresenting’ facts.

Upon his suit, the court ordered that status quo be maintained pending judgment on the case but earlier on Thursday, Justice Yetunde Adesanmi, the presiding judge struck out Ambode’s suit on basis that it breached the doctrine of separation of power.

The judge ruled that Ambode’s suit is an attempt to override the power conferred on the Assembly by Section 128 and 129 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria while noting that the Ad-Hoc Committee was set up to investigate the purchase of the buses which is not an indictment or breach of his fundamental human right.

On that basis, Ambode filed an order of appeal restraining the lawmakers from taking any steps depriving him of his personal right to liberty pending the determination of the suit.

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The defence counsel, Olufeyijimi Tayo-Taiwo in a 17 paragraph affidavit noted that until lawmakers are restrained, they would continually act on the recommendations of its 9-man ad-hoc committee set up to investigate transactions in respect of the 820 buses.

A committee he claimed had ‘already vilified, disparaged and denigrated him at a previous sitting of the House of Assembly on 27th Aug. 2019′.

He also argued that the former governor would be subjected to public ridicule and stigma, which may become irreversible by the end of the appeal, thus rendering any judgment of the court ineffectual.

Among other things the former governor had contended in the notice of appeal was that the court blundered when it adjudged his suit as premature, does not disclose a reasonable cause of action and that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain it.

He also argued that the court was wrong in holding that the exercise of the lawmakers’ powers of investigation under Section 128(1) of the constitution is subject to his right to fair hearing as guaranteed by Section 36(1) of the constitution especially when his right was being violated, Channels television has reported.

Ambode asked that the appeal court set aside the decision of the Lagos High Court and  asked that the matter be referred to the Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Kazeem Alogba so as to reassign the case to another judge for trial.

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