November 21, 2023

Osun Assembly Speaker, CJ’s counsel bicker over corruption allegation

Osun Assembly

By Shina Abubakar

•CJ diverted seized robbery proceeds —Speaker

•They’re working to justify illegality —CJ’s counsel

•JUSUN protest alleged seizure of allowance

THE Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Mr. Adewale Egbedun, and the counsel to the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Oyebola Ojo, Mr Oladipo Olasope, yesterday, engaged in verbal war over corruption allegation levelled against the CJ.

While the speaker accused the CJ of allegedly diverting the proceeds that were recovered from some convicted armed robbers of the Ikirun robbery, the CJ’s counsel said it was a desperate move by the Assembly to justify their illegality.

CJ diverted seized robbery proceeds—Speaker

The Speaker, in a statement by his Media Aide, Tiamiyu Olamide, stated that the Assembly received a petition of corruption allegation against the CJ, hence, the decision to investigate her.

He alleged that part of the allegation includes the diversion of the proceeds that were recovered from the convicted armed robbers of the Ikirun robbery.

The allegation, the Speaker stated, included: “Diversion of the funds for the State Judiciary Library. Diversion of the robe allowance of a brother judge of the Osun State High Court which is about N5,000,000.

“Indiscriminate suspension of judicial staff without going through the Judicial Commission and diversion of their salaries.

“Diversion of revenue due to the government from filing electronic affidavits through the sole appointment of a consultant by the Chief Judge. In this case, the consultant makes N1000 on an affidavit as against just N250 that is being remitted to the state coffers.

“Disobedience of a Court judgment that discharged and acquitted a judicial staff of the allegation of embezzling N30,000 typing sheet fund.”

On the purported suspension of the Chief Judge, the Speaker said: “The Osun State House of Assembly is aware of the position of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the decisions of the Supreme Court in various cases stating that the Governor of a state and the House of Assembly cannot remove a Chief Judge from office without the participation of the National Judicial Council.

“Therefore, we urge commentators to be cautious in their utterances, as they may convey the misconception that the Osun State House of Assembly has removed or intends to remove the Chief Judge of Osun State without the involvement of the National Judicial Council”.

They’re working to justify illegality—CJ’s counsel

Reacting, Oladipo Olasope, SAN, counsel to the Chief Judge, however, described the allegation of corruption against the CJ by the Assembly as an afterthought and a desperate move to justify their illegality.

Olasope said: “Who are they to query the CJ? Disciplining the CJ does not lie with the Osun State House of Assembly. Section 292 of the Constitution is very clear. It is the NJC that can discipline a CJ, not the House of Assembly. So, all those allegations are figments of their imagination. They have to say something to justify their position and that is what they choose to say.

 JUSUN protest seizure of allowance

Meanwhile, the Judiciary Staff Union in the state shut the entrance to the High Court premises that housed the CJ’s office protesting the alleged seizure of their wardrobe allowance and high handedness of the CJ against its members.

Chairman of the union, Gbenga Eludire said: “We are not aware that the Chief Judge has been suspended by the Governor. Whatever is happening between them is strictly a matter between the Judiciary and the Executive arm of government. Ours is a protest to protect the interest of JUSUN members from high handedness of the CJ.”