The National Judicial Council on Thursday recommended the compulsory retirement of Osun State High Court judge, Justice S. O. Falola.
He was found guilty of granting a Garnishee Order Absolute against Polaris Bank for the sum of N283,174,000.00 in a questionable manner.
A statement by the council’s Director of Information, Adesoji Oye, indicated that the investigation committee held that Falola traveled to Lagos to visit the bank’s counsel in his chambers on the issue of Garnishee Proceedings, an action which it described as unprofessional.
The statement read, “The National Judicial Council under the Chairmanship of Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, GCON, at its 104th Meeting of December 6 and 7, 2023 has recommended the compulsory retirement of Hon. Justice S. O. Falola of Osun State High Court from the Bench.
“The recommendation was made sequel to the findings of an investigation committee in a petition written against His Lordship by Mr. Dapo Kolapo Olowo and Polaris Bank for granting a Garnishee Order Absolute against the Bank for the sum of N283,174,000.00 questionably and strangely, and endorsement of the order, attaching the account of the Garnishee with another Garnishee and not the account of the judgment debtor who had the legal obligation to pay the supposed judgment sum.
“It further found the conduct of the subject judge traveling to Lagos to visit the counsel for the bank in his chambers on the issue of Garnishee Proceedings unbecoming of the standard expected of a judicial officer.”
Soji, however, said the council has recommended to the state governor, Ademola Adeleke, to compulsorily retire him with immediate effect.
He noted that the NJC has suspended Falola from office pending the approval of the recommendation of his compulsory retirement by the Osun State Governor.
The council also held that it would not work with the resolution of the state House of Assembly.
Soji said, “Council considered and declined the request of Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State requesting its permission to swear in the next most senior judge in the … .state in an acting capacity, following allegations leveled against Hon. Justice Adepele Ojo, Chief Judge, Osun State and the resolution of the State House of Assembly to suspend him.
“The Council affirmed that Hon. Justice Ojo is still the recognised Chief Judge of Osun State, and would not work on the resolution of a State House of Assembly.”
Soji also said the council dismissed the petitions against Justice Ekaete F. F. Obot, Chief Judge, Akwa Ibom State; Hon Justice Benson C. Anya of High Court Abia State; Hon. Justice Z. B. Abubakar of Federal High Court, Hon Justice Opufaa Ben-Whyte and Augusta Uche K. Chuku of the High Court of Rivers State, for being unmeritorious, or withdrawal of petitions by the Petitioners.
“However, Hon Justice A. I. Akobi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory is to be issued a letter of guidance to take proper charge and control of his court, ” the statement added.
Soji noted that the council received 51 fresh petitions written against Federal and State Judicial Officers and constituted 11 Panels to investigate petitions that have merits.
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