NDDC: Court distances self from granting order restraining Pondei-led IMC

A Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out a suit filed by a lawyer, Nnamdi Mba on behalf of 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, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and seven others.

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 compeling the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commision (ICPC) to investigate Pondei who was accused to have embezzled N40 billion while Minister of Niger Delta and five members of his board were accused of over N3 billion contract fraud.

The case was adjourned to December 8, 2020.

On December 8, 2020, the court learnt that there was a publication both in print and electronic media to the effect that the court has granted interim jurisdiction restraining the interim management of the NDDC.

The plantiff denied applying for an interim order of injunction on the motion exparte dated June 15, 2020.

The Journalist from Channels TV who reported the news told the court that the applicant’s lawyer Chibuzor C. Ezike told him on camera that the Court granted restraining order against NDDC.

Since Chibuzor was not the one who filed the application for leave order, the court blamed him for the anomaly in the case and left it at that.

On December 4, 2020, the Plantiff’s counsel served a notice of withdrawal and discontinuance of the case to the defendants without serving the court its copy.

The plantiff 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 plantiff 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leave of court so long as he can do that not later than 14 days after service of defence on him but since the case for withdrawn was not filed within the stipulated time, therefore the suit was struck out.

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