By Lukman Olabiyi
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos has slammed N50,000 fines on Prof. Abayomi Sunday Fasina, the Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, (FUOYE), for stalling the hearing of a fundamental rights suit he filed against the police and others.
Fashina alongside Mrs. Bridget Oyaola and Mr. Sulaiman Olajide Usman, both the university’s acting Director of Works and Chief Internal Auditor, have dragged the Commissioner of Police, (Special Fraud Unit); CP Anderson A. Bankole and Supol Sunday Akeregun, before the court in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/684/2021.
The vice-chancellor and others asked the court to stop the police from investigating them over alleged financial misappropriation petition filed against them .
At the last hearing of case, the plaintiffs’ counsel informed the court that after reviewing his clients’ case, they came to conclusion that there was need to include the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) as a respondent in the suit.
He sought for the leave of the court to join IGP as respondent in the suit.
“We have served the counsel on record and the bailiffs are trying to serve the person we sought to join. We therefore seek for further date to enable the Sheriff to serve IGP,” he said.
Responding, counsel to the respondents, pleaded with the court to discountenance the application, on the ground that it was a ploy to continue to delay the hearing of the matter.
He particularly told the court that for the past two months that the matter was adjourned for definite hearing, the applicants failed to filed all the processes they needed to file.
However, the respondents’ counsel told the court to award a cost of N200,000,00 against all the plaintiffs, should the court should considered it needful to grant the prayer of the plaintiff.
Ruling on the award of cost, Justice Aneke awarded a cost of N50, 000, against all the applicants, in favour of the respondents, and also ordered that the fine should be paid before February 23, 2022, when the matter would come up for definite hearing.
In the suit, Fasina and others are praying the court for an order; declaring that they are entitle to know and be inform of the details of any Investigation against them by the police.
They also asked the court to award the cost of N50million against the police as general, aggravated and exemplary damages for the alleged violation of their fundamental rights.
But the respondents in a counter-affidavit deposed to by Supol Segun Akeregun, asked the court to dismiss the applicants’ suit for being frivolous and abuse of court process.
The deponent averred that it is untrue that the police invaded the premises of the Vice Chancellor on June 17 and 18, 2021, or any day at all but only visited the University’s premises to serve an invitation of the Vice Chancellor over some criminal allegations which the police were investigating.
He also stated that the petition against the applicants was not only in respect of frauds allegedly perpetrated as VC from February 2021, but includes his tenure from 2017, when he was Deputy VC in charge of administration till February, 2021 when he became the VC the Federal University. And that the VC has been heading more than eleven (11) committees as Deputy VC from 2017 to February, 2021
before he became the VC and these committees deal with contracts and other financial engagements.
The deponent also averred that the VC as the then Chairman of TETFund Committee of the University and about other 10 committees, allegedly fraudulently converted to himself and laundered about N13, 864, 925.00 through the son, Fasina Oluwadamilola Tosin, who is a Post- graduate student at Sterling University, Scotland.
The deponent averred that it was untrue that Fasina and others were being or about to be intimidated. And that the applicants were yet to honour the invitation sent to them regarding the petition . Adding that the petition and documents before his office relate to criminal infractions allegedly committed by the plaintiffs.
Furthermore, the deponent stated that from the available documents in record obtained in the course of investigation of the petition against Fasina revealed that, the VC was involved in fraudulent conversion of funds from Ekiti State University as salaries while he was still receiving salaries as Deputy VC in charge of administration at Federal University Oye-Ekiti.
He also stated that it is only a comprehensive and complete police investigation that will determine whether or not the applicants are culpable. Adding that the applicants filed the suit to intimidate and circumvent police investigation and possibly to escape the long arm of justice.
The deponent while asking the court to dismiss the applicants suit for being frivolous, hoodwink, also asked the court to award a huge cost against the applicants.