The scheduled arraignment of the Managing Director of Lekki Gardens Limited, Mr. Richard Nyong and other directors of the company, on yesterday, suffered a serious setback due to the failure of Lagos State Government to affix the legal seal and stamp of the person that signed the charge.
Those to be arraigned alongside the company’s Managing Director are: Sola Olomofe; Odofin Henry Taiwo; Omolabake Mortune and Omotilewa Oluwatosin Joseph.
While three companies namely: Lekki Gardens Estate Limited, Get Too Rich Investment Limited and HC Insight Solution Limited were also listed as Defendants in charge number LD/3808c/2017.
All the defendants are to be arraigned over a collapsed six-storey building that killed five people sometimes in March 2016, at Ikate Elegunshi, Lekki, Lagos and for their failure to obtained building permit.
At the resumed arraignment of the defendants on Thursday, lawyer to the company’s Managing Director, Chief Woke Olanipekun (SAN), objected to the reading of the charge on the ground that the charge did not comply with the Section 10 of Legal Practitioners’ Act, which makes it mandatory that all documents to be tendered before the court must have the seal, stamp and signature of the lawyer filing them.
Olanipekun said the charge against his clients and other defendants did not have the seal, stamp of the person that filed it.
He therefore urged the court not to permit the reading of the charge until the prosecution do the needful, by affixing the seal and stamp of the person that file charge on it.
Responding, the Lagos State’s Attorney-General (AGF), and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem (SAN), while urging the court not to grant Olanipekun (SAN) application said the Proof-of-Evidence attached with the charge are sealed and stamped by the the person that filed the charge.
Kazeem told the court that both the charge and Proof-of-Evidence are inseparable documents.
He added that since the documents attached with the charge were have seal on it and stamped the same cover the charge.
He therefore urged the court to allow the reading of the charge, so that the plea of the defendants could be taken.
However, the presiding judge, Justice Cybil Nwaka, adjourned ruling on the submissions of both parties and arraignment of the defendants till Monday, July 3, 2017.
The court had earlier in the day dismissed a preliminary objection filed by the second defendant, Mr. Sola Olumofe challenging his inclusion in the criminal charge.
In urging the court to quash the charge against him or strike out his name from the charge, Olumofe stated that he was not served with the Proof-of-Evidence and his extra-judicial statement was not obtained.
But the court in dismissing the Olumofe’s application stated that the prosecution has sufficiently proved to link the second accused to the charge having look at the information filed by the prosecution.
Justice Nwaka, while dismissing the second defendant Preliminary Objection added that the era of technically is dead and buried, adding that the court is for the substantial justice is for all.