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Friday, April 11, 2014

INUMIDUN AKANDE J.: THE TRAVAILS OF AN AMAZON IN RETIREMENT


VOL 13 NO 5   14-01-13

When it was time for Honorable Justice Inumidun Akande former Chief-Judge to bow out from office in June 2012, upon attaining the age of 65 years, she crossed to the Retirement glade in grand and unprecedented style.

Not for his Lordship, the common route of the customary valedictory session at the foyer of the Lagos High court, rather her exit took the form of a diligently executed and elaborate departure ritual, and a well put together written and audio-visual record of her various achievements in office.

Strong willed, quick-witted combatively turf protective but paradoxically shy and soft-hearted woman, Akande C.J was, not without her ‘enemies’ in and outside the Judiciary where she was the leader 2009 – 2012.

Despite the pomp and pageantry that attended her orchestrated departure from the Lagos State Judiciary, her nay-sayers believed that all her assertive campaign for the independence of the Judiciary and the consequent clamorous clash with the Executive or more specifically the Ministry of Justice was equivalent to the coy salaaming of the house-cat which is but a ruse to make off with the meat.

Squib investigation revealed that  prior to her eventual departure in June 2012, a petition against his lordship was filed by a certain Segun Oke, president of a nebulous organization called Centre For Corruption Free Nation (CCFN) to the chairman of the Economic and financial Crimes Commission (See Cover Story Exhibit 1)

The petitioner alleged in the main that Inumidun Akande C.J is guilty of “gross misapplication and misappropriation of judiciary fund. The specifics of the allegation is that as Chief Judge (a) Akande short-changed her brother judges on overseas training to illegally and fraudulently reduce their transport and accommodation estacodes and (b) she handed down only 15 million naira to each judge of the state judiciary instead of twenty million naira that was approved by the government for the renovation of the house of the jurists.

The Squib authoritatively learnt that even though the petition turned out to be from an anonymous source and provides scanty details to back the very serious allegations of fraud, the EFCC considered it a veritable platform to take up Chief Judge particularly after leaving the office.

Hitherto the commission had been interacting with the Chief Registrar who is actually the accounting officer of the Judiciary, but once out of office, the sleuths came after Akande, Ex-C. J

When the news reached the Judiciary that the former Chief Judge had been invited over by the EFCC for grilling, the Squib learnt that, the development was greeted with great delight by some of her colleagues still in service who detested her leadership as it appeared that “Samson was going down”. There was a whispering campaign in high quarters that “Madam Separation of Power (MSP) despite all her grand-standing is a thief after-all”.

However it turned out that the gloating was premature as the fire to roast the supposedly supine and helpless former Chief Judge failed to kindle. The fuel on the ‘pyre’ of the ex-chief judge turned out to be water!

The Squib learnt that in response to the annexure-less one and half pages petition, a deeply stung Akande C.J turned in material of nearly sixty pages, an exhaustive defence of her position that she was free of all accusations of fraud and misappropriation of funds. Please see cover story Exhibit 2.

The Squib has further learnt that the EFCC in order to complete investigation in the matter is considering interview all the judges, 38 in number whom are the beneficiaries of the Renovation of Building grant or allocation released by the Governor of Lagos State and whom the petitioner has alleged have been defrauded by their former Chief.

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