A Lagos State High Court in Ikeja has adjourned hearing till November 20, 2019 in a suit filed by the immediate past Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to stop the state House of Assembly from probing him over the 820 mass transit buses purchased by his administration.
Justice Y.A. Akinsanya ordered Ambode and the lawmakers to maintain the “status quo” pending the hearing of the suit.
The adjournment followed a request by the lawmakers’ lawyer, Adenike Osinowo, for time to study Ambode’s suit and file appropriate response.
Osinowo said the court processes were served on her, late on Tuesday.
She said, “We were served the Motion on Notice very late (Tuesday) and we shall be opposing the motion.
“We shall be asking the court for a date to regularise our processes.”
While adjourning for hearing, Justice Adesanya directed the parties to the case to maintain the status quo.
The judge on Tuesday declined hearing an ex parte application by Ambode’s lawyer, Mr Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), to make orders of injunction against the lawmakers.
Rather than entertain the ex parte application, Justice Adesanya directed the ex-governor to put the defendants on notice and adjourned for hearing.
In the suit, Ambode urged the court to restrain the lawmakers “from compelling the claimant, in any manner whatsoever, to appear before the defendants pursuant to the resolution passed by the defendants on August 27, 2019 or any other resolution passed in respect of the subject matter of this suit”.
He urged the court to declare 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”.
In his statement of claim, Ambode accused the lawmakers of deliberate misrepresentation of facts, contending that contrary to their claims, “the procurement of the 820 buses was captured in the 2018 Appropriation Law which was duly approved by the House”.
He said, “In Section 1 of the bill, the 1st defendant (House of Assembly) authorised the total budget for the year 2018 to be N1,046,121,181,680, comprising the sum of N347,038,938,872.00 only and N699,082,242,808.00 only as the recurrent and capital expenditures, respectively.
“Part of the items authorised by the bill under Capital Expenditure was: ‘LAGBUS Public Transport Infrastructure; part financing of 820 buses’ which was Item 8 under Schedule 1- Part C of the bill.”
He added, “Having prescribed the manner of withdrawal of funds in Sections 3 and 4 of the 2018 Appropriation Law, it was unconstitutional for the House to attach another condition in Section 9 of the law for further approval to be sought before incurring any expenditure on the purchase of the buses.”
Good journalism costs a lot of money, only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, accountability democracy and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble profession.