Justice Lateefa Okunnu has fined T.B. Joshua, founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations N25,000 for delaying the case he (Joshua) instituted in the Lagos High Court against the Oyetade Komolafe, Lagos State coroner
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Mar. 2, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
T.B. JOSHUA, founder, Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, has started paying the price for delaying court processes in the case he brought against the magistrate coroner making an inquest into the collapse of his guest house in which more than 116 people died last year. A Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday, February 17, awarded N25,000 in cost against Joshua for delaying further hearing in a suit he filed against Oyetade Komolafe, Lagos State coroner. Justice Lateefa Okunnu awarded the cost against the applicants for wasting the time of the court and tax payers’ money.
The judge had expressed displeasure that the matter, which was filed in December, last year, had been bogged down with several adjournments at the instance of Joshua. According to Okunnu, it was clear that the day’s proceeding had been hampered by Joshua’s fresh applications. The judge said the fine must be paid before the next adjourned date and that Joshua must file an affidavit of compliance as evidence.
Joshua had sued Komolafe, Lagos coroner magistrate and the Lagos State government, over its ongoing inquest into the collapse of SCOAN guest house. In the suit, Lateef Fagbemi, counsel to SCOAN and Joshua, said his clients had asked for a judicial review of the proceedings before the coroner’s inquest which began on October 13, 2014.
He asked the court to declare that the coroner had exceeded the jurisdiction of a coroner’s court by delving into areas that were beyond its scope. However, on the resumption of hearing on Tuesday, Fagbemi told the court that he had filed two fresh applications relating to the suit. “We filed two processes yesterday. One is a motion and the other one is the applicants consolidated Reply on Points of Law,” he said.
Responding, Karmardeen Bakare, counsel to Lagos State government, said the processes were served on his team in court and he needed time to prepare his reply. He, therefore, urged the court for an adjournment to enable him examine the applications. Following the development, the judge said it was clear that the day’s proceedings could not go on as scheduled.
Joshua had on November 21, 2014, approached the High Court to quash the proceedings of the coroner’s inquest into the collapse of a guest house belonging to his church. In an application the pastor asked the court to prohibit the coroner court of Lagos State and Magistrate Komolafe from exceeding their jurisdiction in investigating the disaster. He also asked for an order stopping the coroner court from summoning him to give evidence. Joshua equally sought for an order restraining the coroner from continuing to take evidence and proceedings on the issue of approval and construction of the collapsed building because the issues were clearly outside the scope of a coroner’s inquest.