Rafiu Balogun, counsel to former Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has said his client will not appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the Ayo Fayose administration to investigate fraud allegations against him.
According to the lawyer, his presence at the panel’s sitting on Wednesday was ‘conditional’ which he also tagged, “appearance in protest” for Mr Fayemi.
He told the panel that although Mr. Fayemi, who is currently the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, received summons of the panel, he would not appear in view of the fact that the former governor is contending the propriety of the constitution of the panel in court.
The panel is beaming its searchlight at the tenure of Mr. Fayemi as governor of Ekiti State, and specifically focusing on an alleged fraud and diversion of funds belonging to the state Universal Basic Education Board.
Mr. Balogun had applied to make an oral application to excuse his client from appearing before the panel, but the chairman of the panel, Silas Oyewole, advised him to make a formal one.
The counsel is to file an application excusing Mr. Fayemi from appearing on Monday, September 11.
The panel also ordered a former commissioner for finance who served under the Fayemi administration, Dapo Kolawole, to appear before it on the same date.
Mr. Balogun had earlier prayed for an adjournment for Mr. Kolawole, who by his letter of summons would have testified before the panel on Wednesday.
The counsel to the panel, Sunday Bamise, had informed the commission that a lawyer, Ibrahim Olanrewaju, received the summons on behalf of Mr. Kolawole, but the statement was immediately contradicted by another lawyer present, Adeoye Aribasoye.
Mr. Aribasoye later clarified his statement when he said that he, Mr Olanrewaju and Tajudeen Akingbolu announced appearances as “observers’ at the last sitting of the panel but never appeared for Messrs. Fayemi and Kolawole and as such never received processes on their behalf.
The panel chairman subsequently intervened by noting that the record before the panel showed that Mr. Olanrewaju signed to receive the summons on Mr. Kolawole’s behalf.
He said also that the panel was on a “fact-finding mission and not raised to crucify anybody.”