The National Industrial Court on Monday refused an oral application by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) for a stay of proceedings in a motion brought against it by a whistleblower, Sambo Abdullahi
The court presided by Kiyersohot Damulak, ordered NBET’s lawyer, Olayinka Arase, to provide a written application before his request is considered.
Mr Arase had made the oral application after he notified the NIC of his pending request at the Court of Appeal challenging a decision of the NIC for parties to maintain the status quo pending the determination of another motion brought by Mr Abdullahi.
Mr Abdullahi is a worker with NBET. He and another whistleblower, Waziri Bintube, had exposed several alleged fraud by NBET’s Managing Director, Marilyn Amobi.
He approached the industrial court after his salaries were stopped by the electricity company on controversial grounds.
Mr Abdullahi also asked the court to restrain NBET from doing anything that will further affect his appointment.
The industrial court at its previous hearing ruled against the request on further actions by Mr Abdullahi but asked that parties maintain the status quo pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, however, Mr Arase approached the Court of Appeal but failed to make a written application before the NIC, regarding his motion at the upper court.
After informing the court of his appeal, Mr Arase explained that his decision to refrain from writing the court was instigated by “the circumstances” in which they found themselves.
In a reaction to the application, Mr Abdullahi’s lawyer, Adam Oloro-aje, argued that the rules of the NIC provide that “anybody applying for a stay of proceedings must come by way of writing to the court.
“It is only when that order is refused that they can proceed to the Court of Appeal,” Mr Oloro-aje added.
In a final decision, Mr Damulak ruled that Mr Arase provides a written application which would be heard and considered before a decision is taken regarding his request for a stay of proceedings.
The court adjourned till July 15 for further hearing on the matter.
In a recent report to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) said it was set to prosecute Ms Amobi, following findings that resulted from the allegations exposed by Messrs Abdullahi and Bintube.
According to the report, the commission said Ms Amobi faltered in areas of procurement and fund approvals.
“The Respondent (MD) does not follow due process in the award of contracts.
“The Respondent (MD) makes payments before securing the required approvals.
“The Respondent (MD) received excess furniture allowances of N22,646,328.48 above the approved N5,777,595.00 for CEOs of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies,” the report seen by Leaks NG read.