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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Aregbesola: Osun Judge, Assembly Panel Disagree over Probe Modalities

Aregbesola: Osun Judge, Assembly Panel Disagree over Probe Modalities

29 Jul 2015
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Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola
Justice Oloyede fails to appear before panel

Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo

Justice Olamide Folahanmi of the Osun State Judiciary Tuesday disclosed that unless she was given the copy of the reply by the state governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola to her petition, she would not appear before the panel set up by the state House of Assembly to look into the allegation before the legislators.
However, the judge failed to appear before the investigative ad hoc committee headed by Hon. Akintunde Adegboye, the Deputy Speaker of the assembly as her lawyer, Mr. Lanre Ogunlesi (SAN), could not make any headway.
The panel began its sitting at 10a.m at the Committee Hall of the House of Assembly with heavy presence of security agents in and around the complex and with an armoured tank stationed opposite the assembly’s complex.
At the session, the committee chairman, Adegboye turned down the plea by Oloyede’s lawyer who asked for the response of the governor to build her defence, asserting that the judge had broken three rules of the parliament already in wrong filing, signing and appearance in line with order 126 sub one to six of the parliament.
Adegboye further drew the attention of the Judge’s lawyer to the parlance of the law, which quotes, “he who alleges must prove.”
While arguing for the response of the governor before the judge could appear, the panel chairman said, the Oloyede’s petition at the fourth paragraph was categorical on her readiness to appear with her evidence to back up her petition, saying the committee could not play “father Christmas” in giving what was not requested for ab initio.
Adegboye then clarified that the panel was a fact-finding committee not a trial court, saying the appearance of the judge would further confirm her resolve to pursue her cause and assist the committee in its work, but stressed that Oloyede could as well send her evidence if she could not appear in person.
Consequently, Ogunlesi told journalists after a closed-door meeting with the seven-man committee that justice and fair hearing demand that the petitioner be availed with the governor’s response to the judge’s petition.
According to him, “Fair hearing demands that as a first step to defending the petition, it is necessary for the petitioner to be provided with the governor’s response.
“What we discussed with them was that for us not to waste time on this matter, answers to the petition by the governor should be made available. They said the committee was a fact-finding one, but the issue at stake was a serious one and for the sake of posterity and the people yet unborn, they need to forward the answers to her.
“She could even come out and say I am sorry, I withdraw my petition after going through the governor’s reply and may not need to see the committee again. But, I want to say that she will be here. We are not running away. She is bold enough to write the petition and she is prepared to defend it. If she should have the reply today, she will be here tomorrow”.
Ogunlesi, who was a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Ogun State, however expressed reservation at the attitudes of the committee members, saying with the way they spoke, the committee is likely going to close the case.
“They said they have their rules but they are not forthcoming towards our demand. They said they will decide and that we will be hearing from them. It maybe that they have made up their minds on what to do,” he stated.
Reacting after the meeting the Chairman of the Committee, Akintunde declared that his committee cannot provide the petitioner with Aregbesola’s response, saying it was a confidential document sent to the House of Assembly by the governor.
According to him, “The rule of the House is clear. Order 26 says that petition must come to the House through a member and again the petition must be signed page by page. But we are not looking at this. We wrote the petitioner by inviting her to defend her allegations.
“Another rule is broken because for clarity sake, the petitioner is not here and she needs to come in person but we allowed his representatives. This is not the end of the petition. We are still going to take our report to the floor of the house where every member will debate it. But she is the one who sent the petition and the onus rest on her to prove it.
Justice Oloyede had earlier petitioned the Speaker, Hon. Najeem Salaam, urging the house to investigate Aregbesola and his deputy for financial impropriety, where she expressed her considered opinion for the impeachment of the state helmsman and the deputy