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Eletu family appeals ICPC judgment

By News Express on 25/06/2017

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•Eletu Family’s counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.
•Eletu Family’s counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa.

The Gbadamosi Eletu family of Osapa London, in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, has appealed against the judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos, which approved the investigation by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) of the private land transaction between the family and their former lawyer, Chief Afe Babalola, SAN.

On June 19, 2017, Justice Aikawa had interpreted Sections 6 and 10 of the ICPC Act to empower the commission to investigate private citizens on allegations of corruption. Being dissatisfied with the judgment, the family instructed their counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa to file an appeal against it to the Court of Appeal. 

In the notice of appeal filed at the Registry of the Federal High Court on June 22, the family raised four grounds of appeal, contending, amongst others, that the trial court erred in law in holding the ICPC to possess omnibus powers to investigate private individuals, who are not public officers in respect of money not being revenue of the government, and when none of the appellants in the case is a public officer or a beneficiary or administrator of public funds. The appeal also seeks to question the judgment of the trial court, which did not interrogate the true facts of the case, namely that the Eletu family were contesting the figure of $10 million contained in the agreement in question.

The notice of appeal further complained of the failure of the trial court to follow established decisions of superior courts in determining fundamental rights cases, by wrongly placing the burden of proof of likely violations of the rights of the appellants on them, instead of the ICPC that had the onus of justifying the circumstances of infringement.

Furthermore, the appellants contended in the appeal that the trial court erred in law in failing to examine the true issues in controversy between the parties, especially the facts stated in the affidavit that the Eletu family had already paid N200 million to Chief Babalola, out of his total claims for his legal services.

The Eletu family maintained that as the custodian of the Supreme Court judgment on their family land at Osapa London, it was in their power to sell, dispose of or compromise their family inheritance and such decision could not be subject of investigation by the ICPC.

The notice of appeal has since been served on the ICPC and the court has fixed a date for the settlement of records of appeal.

In a related development, Mr Adegboruwa stated on behalf of the Eletu family that the matter between them and Chief Babalola had been fairly settled, whereby Mr Adegboruwa had intervened with other senior lawyers to mediate between the Eletu family and Chief Babalola. 

According to Mr Adegboruwa, an agreement had been reached to compensate Chief Babalola from the land allocation of the Eletu family, upon the resolution of the contentious issue of alleged $10 million. Thus, the counsel further said, the judgment of the Federal High Court had been overtaken by events of the mutual resolution of the parties, but the ICPC had carried on with the case for its own interest and image.

Source News Express

Posted 25/06/2017 12:54:23 AM


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