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NJC recommends compulsory retirement of Justice Falola for misconduct

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The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended the compulsory retirement of Justice S.O. Falola of Osun State High Court.

The NJC announced this in a statement on Thursday.

It said the recommendation followed the findings of an investigation committee in a petition written against the judge by Dapo Olowo and Polaris Bank.

Mr Falola had granted a garnishee order absolute against the bank for N283,174,000.00 in a “questionable and strange manner.”

The embattled judge equally endorsed the order, attaching the account of the garnishee with another garnishee and not the judgment debtor’s account, who had the legal obligation to pay the supposed judgment sum.

The committee found out that the judge misconducted himself by entertaining suit No HIK/41/2018 when there was no evidence of a judgment of the Kwara State High Court before him, nor was there a certificate of registration of same in Osun to confer jurisdiction on him.

It was further found that the conduct of the subject judge travelled to Lagos to visit the bank’s counsel in his chambers on the garnishee proceedings, unbecoming of the standard expected of a judicial officer.

Consequently, the council recommended the judge’s immediate compulsory retirement to Governor Ademola Adeleke.

It said in the exercise of its disciplinary powers under the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the NJC suspended Mr Falola from office pending the governor’s approval of the recommendation of his compulsory retirement.

The council also considered the reports of other investigation committees that had concluded their sittings and dismissed the petitions written against some judges for being unmeritorious or for withdrawal of petitions by the petitioners.

They are Justices Ekaete F. F. Obot (chief judge of Akwa Ibom), Benson C. Anya (Abia High Court), Z. B. Abubakar (Federal High Court), Opufaa Ben-Whyte and Augusta Uche K. Chuku (Rivers High Court).

However, Justice A. I. Akobi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory will be issued a letter of guidance to take proper charge and control of his court.

The plenary also considered the report of its three Preliminary Complaints Assessment Committees on 51 fresh petitions written against federal and state judicial officers.

It decided to constitute 11 panels to investigate petitions with merits and dismissed the remaining petitions for being subjudice, having been withdrawn, and the subject judges having retired from service.

The council also resolved to report A.A. Aribisala to the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC) for investigation and disciplinary action for the unpalatable and derogatory remarks he made against a judicial officer and, by extension, the NJC in his petition to the council.

It considered and declined the request of Mr Adeleke to swear in the next most senior judge in Osun in an acting capacity, following allegations levelled against Justice Adepele Ojo, the Osun chief judge, and the resolution of the State House of Assembly to suspend him.

The council affirmed that Mr Ojo remains the recognised chief judge and would not work on the resolution of the Osun parliament, as it is the only body constitutionally empowered to investigate judicial officers and recommend the same for any action to the governor, charging Osun to revert to status quo.

It also received notification of the retirements of seven judicial officers and notification of the deaths of six serving judicial officers of the federal and state courts.

NAN

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