The National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja has reversed the suspension of the Managing Director of FHA Homes Limited, Roland Igbinoba.
In his ruling, Justice E.N Agbakoba held that the suspension of Igbinoba as the MD of FHA Homes Limited was wrong. He therefore ordered that the salary benefits and entitlements of the wrongfully suspended MD be paid within 30 days from the day of judgment, failing, will attract an interest of 10 per cent per annum until fully paid.
Igbinoba who was suspended from office on the June 2, 2015 had approached the National Industrial Court seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the first defendant (Federal Housing Authority) and the third defendant (Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FHA, Prof. Mohammed Al-Amin) from suspending him from office.
The judge also awarded N300,000 as cost of the suit against the defedenats. He agreed that his suspension was hinged on bad faith, predicated on the disagreement between him and the third defendant.
His counsel, Osaro Eghobamien averred that his client was never presented with the facts of allegation against him and was never given the opportunity to defend himself in line with the principle of fair hearing.
In a joint statement of defence, the defendants had agreed that Igbinoba was not removed from office as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FHA Homes Limited but was placed on indefinite suspension to enable an independent forensic audit be carried out on the affairs of FHA Homes which he superintends.
The defendants through their counsel, Tony Ogbolafor further averred that the claimant was discharging his duties deligently until the Central Bank of Nigeria sent in their supervisory report for the period of 1st October, 2013 to 30th September, 2014 and the report of the interim committee set up by the Federal Housing Authority to reconcile financial/property standing with FHA Homes Limited was submitted to the interim management of the FHA.
However, the claimant told the court that he was never invited by the “Interim Report Committee” that reconciled financial/property standing with the FHA Homes Limited to make clarifications on some issues raised in its report , nor was he given an opportunity to make clarification at the Board of Directors meeting of FHA Mortgage Bank before his suspension.
In reversing the suspension Igbinoba, the court held that a director of a company who is about to be removed or suspended must be presented with the allegations to enable him make a representation, emphasizing that fair hearing is the foundation of every legal system.
By Marc Philips