Former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola
By Tobi Soniyi
A former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, has called on the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), to commence the prosecution of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited for allegedly suppressing evidence in the call logs it sent to the National Judicial Council (NJC) to establish the fact that suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, had communications with leaders of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) while he presided over the appeal that removed him (Oyinlola) from office as governor.
Should the AGF not willing to prosecute the communications company, Oyinlola, who was called to the Bar last year, asked the AGF to grant him the fiat to personally carry out the prosecution.
The letter to the AGF, a copy of which was obtained by THISDAY, was sequel to a police investigation report which established that Salami had communications with ACN leaders.
In the report, the police recommended that MTN be prosecuted for deliberately suppressing communications between the leadership of ACN and Salami.
He attached a copy of the police report which indicted MTN to the letter.
“In light of the foregoing, I am strongly of the opinion that your office would not be serving the ends of justice if your good self do not ensure that the said MTN Nigeria Communications Limited is made to face the full wrath of the law,” the letter added.
In the report, the police found as a fact that the Call Data Records (CDR) submitted to NJC for the purpose of establishing the fact that Salami had communications with ACN top shots while presiding over the election petition appeal that removed Oyinlola from office was inadequate and did not properly reveal all the communications between Salami and the ACN leaders.
MTN admitted not providing all the Call Data Records requested by the NJC but explained that it could not produce all the call logs due to lack of storage capacity.
Excerpts from the report read: “That GSM number 08034010700 belonging to Tunji Ijaya appeared to have been used as a link between GSM number 0803401111 (Lai Rauf Mohammed) 08062240104, 08034240000 (Bola Tinubu) and GSM number 08034004887 belonging to Justice Ayo Salami as there was exchange of calls between Justice Salami and Tunji Ijaya in one hand and Tunji Ijaya with the other mentioned on the other hand.
“The exchange of phone calls spanned between September, 2010 to April, 2011.
“From the available CDRs, there is evidence of communications between Justice Salami and Tunji Ijaya who also communicated with most of the GSM lines in question.
“The details and contents of the calls are not known due to the fact that MTN has not extracted voice and text messages on the lines on ground of legal limitations. They claimed there is no law empowering them to provide voice and text messages of their subscribers to security agencies.
“A legal advice received from Legal Section of the D Department, Force Criminal Investigation, Abuja dated February 8, 2013, opined that MTN Nigeria should be prosecuted for an attempt to suppress evidence in this case as provided by Section 167(8) of the Evidence Act.”
The report, which is dated February 8 and signed by Ali Amodu, Commissioner of Police, X Squad, was based on a petition to the police by Oyinlola wherein he alleged that Justice Salami had unholy relationship that influenced his judgment when he presided over the governorship election petition matter that involved the ACN and Oyinlola and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Oyinlola’s petition to the police was premised on MTN call logs obtained by Area G Police Station in Ogba, Lagos State which indicated the existence of communications between Justice Salami’s GSM No 08034004887 with 08034010700, 08078092850 and 08034240000 all belonging to top ACN members.
Oyinlola had told the police that when he reported the issue of unholy relationship between Salami and the ACN chieftains to NJC, the council obtained call logs from MTN through the State Security Services (SSS) and the National Security Adviser (NSA) but that MTN submitted an incomplete call logs to the SSS and the NSA and held back communications which were crucial to prove the existence of unholy alliance between Salami and ACN leaders.
Specifically, Oyinlola said that the call logs submitted to NJC did not cover the required period and that the CDR did not contain incoming calls.
The police in the course of their investigation retrieved the CDRs obtained from MTN by the Area G police division.
They also collected the CDRs given to the NJC by the SSS and the NSA.
The report states: “Requests were made to the MTN to furnish the detail particulars of the subscribers of the listed GSM numbers and they responded as follows: 08034004887 belongs to Justice Salami: 08034240000 belongs to Bola Tinubu and 08034010700 belongs to Tunji Ijaiya.”
The report said that MTN admitted submitting incomplete calls log but said that it was based on what the company’s storage capacity permitted.
In a cautioned response to the allegation of suppressing vital communications between Salami and ACN leaders, MTN General Manager (Commercial Legal Department), Oghenerumi Rotimi, said the company maintained high ethical standards.
She explained that MTN was governed by code of consumer practice as approved by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to provide CDR for a period of three months.
According to her, MTN can only keep call logs for three months due to the company’s storage capacity vis-a-vis its teeming subscribers of about 40 million and huge requests made by security agents.
An MTN technical staff, Mr. Mathew Okoromi, also gave evidence before the police.
In his response to the allegation that MTN failed to supply CDR between September 1, 2010 and January 31, 2011 to the NSA and the SSS when requested, he said SSS applied for call logs for 240 days while NSA’s application covered 247 days.
According to him, this is above their storage capacity which is programmed to supply CDR for 90 days only.