Court Orders Scrutiny Of Abeokuta Club Finances - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Thursday, June 2, 2022

Court Orders Scrutiny Of Abeokuta Club Finances

•••Alao Awards N2m Compensation Over Member's Unlawful Suspension

The Daily Crucible | Thursday, June 2, 2022

A federal high court sitting in Abeokuta has awarded the sum of Two million naira favour ofva member of Abeokuta Club, Esv. Babatunde Dokunmu, as compensation for his wrongful and illegal suspension from the club in 2021.

The court also directed that there should scrutinize the handling of some of the finances of the club by its President, Engr. Tokunbo Odebunmi.

The Daily Crucible reports that in a suit no FHC/AB/CS/66/2021 filed at the Federal High court of Nigeria sitting in Abeokuta, an aggrieved member, Esv. Babatunde Dokunmu, he had approached the court to challenge his unwarranted and unlawful suspension from the club activities for some unstatisfactory reasons.

Dokunmu had earlier alleged that the President of the Abeokuta club, Engr. Tokunbo Odebunmi had mismanaged the sum of fifty three million naira, the club money, compelling the club to set up a panel to investigate it.

Following the allegation, the Life President of the Club ordered for the investigation with Justice Bode Popoola, a retired high court judge heading the panel.

The panel invited Dokunmu to come and prove the allegations within 48hours.

In his response, Dokunmu requested for a new date as he was on a holiday outside the town as at that period. But in a twist, The panel did not find it funny, instead placed Dokunmu on six months suspension from the club activities.

Dokunmu protested against this harsh decision and an appellate panel was set up under Hon Justice Deinde Soremi to review the decision of the first panel.

He also sought for a declaration that the suspension is illegal, unconstitutional null and void.

Justice Deinde Soremi led panel ruled that Dokunmu was unduly punished, submitting further that the panel that suspended Dokunmu was investigatory or merely advisory and not judicial or quasi- judicial body and therefore set aside the decision of the lower panel and considered the suspension null and void

Failure of the Club to obey the appellate panel compelled him to approach the Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, with Justice O.O. Oguntoyinbo acceding to the prayers of the applicants.

Dokunmu had sought for an order of the Honourable court directing the club to constitute an independent panel to investigate the alleged misappropriation of the club's money.

An order of the court setting aside the purported suspension, and damages in the sum of N10,000000(ten million naira only) for illegal malicious and unconstitutional suspension.

In  his rulling Hon Justice O.O. Oguntoyinbo said the court is constrained to agree with the position of the respondents." Not only did the respondents hold the meeting, it went further to suspend the applicant.The case would have been entirely different if the Applicant had ignored the respondent's message or had intentionally declined to attend without giving a valid reason."

The judge also concluded by ordering fresh investigation into the financial misappropriation and award the sum of two million naira as a cost in favour of the applicant.

"Since the decision to suspend the applicant was taken in breach of his right to fair hearing, it is only logical that the suspension amounts to nullity, consequently, the issue is also resolved in favour of the applicant "

"Contrary to the respondent's position that the respondent is a voluntary association, it is trite that an investigative body exercising quasi- judicial functions, like the respondent in the circumstances of this case is bound to observe the rules of natural justice."

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