Lagos High Court judge, Justice Iyabo Oladunni Kasali, has been cleared of an allegation of judicial misconduct by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
The NJC also dismissed a petition written against her over alleged perversion of justice by a lawyer, Evans Azuike.
The petition dated May 24, 2016, written to the NJC, alleged that Justice Kasali struck out suit number LD/1791/2010 without justification and deliberately refused to release exhibits tendered in the suit.
He also said the alleged refusal to release the exhibits 11 months after the suit was struck out had hindered immediate commencement of a fresh suit.
The petitioner, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), alleged further that the delay in releasing the exhibits enabled the defendants to mobilise men and materials to complete the structure which they had erected on the disputed land prior to the assignment of the suit to Justice Kasali in 2013.
However, following deliberation by NJC, it resolved that the petition lacked merit and evidence to establish the allegations levelled against Justice Kasali.
The council, in a letter with ref. No. NJC/S.24/LAG.HC/12/1/46, held that no act of judicial misconduct was established against the judge.
Part of the letter read: “The NJC set up a three-man committee to investigate the allegations contained in a petition dated May 24, 2016 against Justice Iyabo Oladunni Kasali of High Court of Justice, Lagos State.
“The committee finds that no act of judicial misconduct is established by the petitioner against the judge.
“At its meeting, which was held on 3rd November, 2016, council considered and deliberated on the report of the committee.
“At the end of the deliberation, council decided to dismiss the petition for failing to establish the allegation of judicial misconduct against Justice Kasali.”
Both the petitioner and Justice Iyabo Oladunni Kasali led evidence before the three-man Investigative committee of the NJC.
Justice Kasali in her evidence stated: “I did not sit on the exhibits as alleged,” and that she neither delayed nor obstructed justice by allegedly sitting on the exhibits.
She also told the committee that suit No: LD/1791/2010 was a case inherited by her as a trial court when she was newly posted to the Lagos Judicial Division of High Court of Lagos State.
Prior to inheriting the case from Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi (as the trial judge) the petitioners’ counsel sought and obtained an Interim and interlocutory injunction from the case management judge.
After trial commenced in the suit, the defendants filed an application challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the suit on the grounds that at the time the suit was commenced, the petitioner’s client’s name had been struck off the register of companies by the Corporate Affairs Commission. Petitioner’s client subsequently had her name restored in the Register of Companies at the Corporate Affairs Commission.
The said restoration was well after the case was instituted and well after the claimant’s client had obtained interim and interlocutory orders during CMC.
In her ruling delivered on February 18, 2015, Justice Kasali held that the suit was incompetent on account of same having been commenced when the name of the claimant had been struck out of the register of companies.
The claimant though dissatisfied with the ruling elected not to appeal.