By Mutiat Alli
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has struck out a suit by Incorporated Trustees of Forum for Accountability and Good Governance on an application for an order granting leave to apply for judicial review against the defendants, Professor Pondei, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Senate and seven others.
It will be recalled that the court granted the applicant to apply for judicial review for an order of mandamus in terms of reliefs set out in the statement which supported the application compelling the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission to investigate Pondei over a 40 billion naira case, while five members of his board were accused of over three billion naira contract fraud. The case was adjourned to December 8, 2020.
On the adjourned date, the court learned that there was a publication both in print and electronic media to the effect that the court had granted interim jurisdiction restraining/suspending the interim management of the NDDC. The plaintiff denied applying for an interim order of injunction on the motion exparte dated June 15, 2020.
The journalist who reported the news told the court that the applicant’s lawyer Chibuzor C. Ezike told him on camera that the Court granted a restraining order against NDDC.
Since Chibuzor was not the one who filed the application for leave of order. The court blamed him for the anomaly in the case and left it at that.
On December 4, 2020, the plaintiff’s counsel served a Notice of Withdrawal and Discontinuance of the case to the defendants without serving the court its copy.
The plaintiff failed to appear in court on January 13, 2021. The counsel for the defendants conceded no objection to the withdrawal of the matter.
Justice A. R. Mohammed, in his judgement, highlighted that the provision of Order 50 rule 2 of the Federal High Court Rules, 2019, holds that the plaintiff is entitled to withdraw his action without even the leave of court so long as he can do that not later than 14 days after service of defence on him.
Therefore, since the case for withdrawal was not filed within the stipulated time, the suit was struck out.