RE: THE ALLEGED BAN OF ARAKUNRIN OLUWAROTIMI AKEREDOLU, SAN FROM HOLDING ANY PUBLIC OFFICE FOR 25 YEARS BY A JUDICIAL COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY;
RELEASE OF COURT JUDGMENT/ORDER CONFIRMING THAT THE PURPORTED INDICTMENT HAD BEEN SET ASIDE BY THE ONDO STATE HIGH COURT AS FAR BACK AS YEAR 2002.
Yesterday, I published a write up, which was strictly based on legal analysis, with supporting court judgment(s), to the effect that a Judicial Commission of Enquiry is not a Court of Law or Tribunal under our laws, and consequently does not have the power to try any person for any criminal offence whatsoever, let alone convicting such person and/or purportedly banning him from holding any public office.
I had stated in the write up that in any event, “I am sure that Mr. Governor would invariably react to these allegations at whatever time he thinks is appropriate, at least on moral grounds.”
I am not sure that I could reasonably explain what informed the kind of ‘Peace Like A River’ attitude that the Governor had exhibited in the face of such trending story, apart from the fact that the law regards such a purported indictment and ban by a Judicial Commission of Enquiry as null and void ab initio, because only a court of law or tribunal has such power.
Politicians may have their own strategies and game plans during political contests, after-all, I still do not understand why members of the public would have to wait till year 2020 before they are told that there was a Judicial Commission of Enquiry which had banned Arakunri Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN from holding any public office since year 2000, about twenty years ago.
Earlier today, I had the privilege of receiving a call from another learned colleague who confirmed that he read my publication on the above subject matter online yesterday, and had to make the necessary contacts to speak directly with me on the issue.
He confirmed that the purported indictment of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN by the Justice R.O Fawehinmi led Judicial Commission of Enquiry, had been quashed or set aside by the Ondo State High Court presided over by Hon. Justice P.I Odunwo, as far back as year 2002, and that he was part of the legal team that handled the matter for one of the parties in the case.
I requested for documents to substantiate his claim and he sent the Certified True Copy of the Enrolment of Order of the Court in that regard.
I have taken all the necessary steps to confirm the authenticity or otherwise of the Certified True Copy of the Enrolment of Order.
Consequently, I personally applied to the Registry of the Ondo State High Court in Akure to conduct a search on the case file and relevant document. I equally succeeded in contacting some of the parties listed in the Suit, who are public personalities, to confirm the authenticity of the Judgment/Order. A court order is also a judgment. Permit me therefore, to use both terminologies interchangeably.
The case numbers stated on the Judgment are: AK/32M/99 and AK/19M/2001. It was a consolidated case. That means there were at least two cases on the same subject matter, which the Court decided or accepted to join, to avoid unnecessary duplication and waste of judicial time.
The parties in the consolidated cases include: (1) The State; (2) Justice R.O Fawehinmi (RTD); (3) Kunle Adedipe Esq; (4)Dele Aofeju Esq; (5) Eng. E. O. A. Komolafe Esq; (6) D.O Akinduro Esq; (7) Governor of Ondo State; and (8) Attorney-General of Ondo State.
Oluwarotimi O. Akeredolu (Esq.), SAN is listed as the Plaintiff/Applicant in the Judgment, while the other parties listed above are described as the Defendants/Respondents therein.
Justice R.O Fawehinmi (RTD) was the Chairmen of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry in issue. The parties listed as numbers 2 to 6 above, were the other members of the Commission.
The relevant part of the Judgment or Enrolment of Order is as follows:
“UPON THE TERMS OF SETTLEMENT dated the 10th day of December, 2002 and filed in the High Court Registry, Akure, for the following terms:
That the proceeding of the Judicial Commission as it affects the applicant is hereby set aside.
That the decision of the Ondo State Government on the findings of the Judicial Commission as it affects the Applicant is also hereby set aside.
That the applicant will withdraw his action in Suit No. AK/251/99, which he instituted against the 1st to 5th respondents for libel.
That parties shall bear their respective costs.
That counsel to the parties shall execute the terms of settlement which shall form the Judgment of the court in the consolidated Suits No: AK/32M/99 and AK/19M/2001.
COMING Up for hearing before His Lordship, Hon. Justice P.I Odunwo-Judge on 10th day of December, 2002 in the presence of Plaintiff/Applicant and both counsel for the parties, but in the absence of the Defendant/Respondents.
AND THE COURT, after hearing Mr. O.O Akeredolu SAN of counsel for the Plaintiff/Applicant (sic-he actually appeared in person) applies that the two cases AK/19M/2001 and AK/32M/99 should be consolidated under Order 34 of the Ondo State Rules of the High Court and applied that the terms of settlement be made the Judgment of the Court, Mr. Daniel Onukun of Counsel for the Defendants/Respondents is not opposing the applications, gave Judgment as follows:
“In view of the fact that the two Suits AK/19M/2001 and AK/32M/99 have been settled amicably out of Court by the parties on the basis of the terms of settlement filed on 10/12/2002 and on the application of Mr. O.O Akeredolu SAN which application is not objected to by Mr. Daniel Onukun, the terms of settlement is (sic-in) respect of the two matters stated above is hereby made the judgment of this Honourable Court. There is no order as to cost.”
A court judgment/enrolment of order is a public document, as defined by Section 102 of the Evidence Act, 2011. There is nothing secret about it. It is accessible, verifiable and obtainable by any member of the public who so desires.
On the premise of the foregoing, I hereby release the Certified True Copy of the Enrolment of Order forwarded to me, which was signed by Hon. Justice P.I Odunwo and countersigned by E.A Orimoloye (Principal Registrar) on 10th December, 2002, and certified by S.O Popoola on 9/1/2003.
I have personally verified the Judgment/Enrolment of Order, and found same to be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Femi Emmanuel Emodamori