TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

Oduahgate: Court orders Coscharis to release bullet-proof cars document

By The Citizen
Listen to article

A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered Coscharis Motors Limited to release information as regards the two controversial bullet-proof cars purchased by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority for a former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, in 2013.

Justice Mohammed Yunusa made the order of mandamus in a judgment delivered on Tuesday in a suit filed by a non-governmental organisation, Enough-is-Enough.

Enough-is-Enough had, through its counsel, Mr. Ayodeji Acquah, approached Yunusa seeking an order compelling Coscharis Motors to make available to it documents on the two cars numbered WBAHP41050DW68032 and WBAHP41010DW68044 purchased for Oduah for about N256m.

The organisation claimed to have commenced the action following the refusal of the company to honour its request via a letter dated October 28, 2013.

It had urged the court to compel the Attorney General of the Federation to commence criminal proceedings against Coscharis for alleged wrongful denial of access to information in contravention of Section 7(5) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.

But Coscharis, in opposition to the plaintiff's prayers, argued being an indigenous private limited liability company with no government investment, the FOI Act could not be binding on it.

Counsel for the company, Mr. Ndubuisi Chito, had maintained that his client, which was not being funded by tax payer's money and did not enjoy any type of government subvention could not be categorised as a public service outfit, which might be subject to sections 1(1) and 4(a) that the applicant relied upon.

Besides, Chito, had urged Yunusa to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.

However, Yunusa, in his judgment, assumed jurisdiction and holding that the provisions of the FOI Act was binding on Coscharis, the judge subsequently ordered the automobile company to furnish Enough-is-Enough with information and documents pertaining to the cars.

Yunusa, however, did not compel the Attorney General of the Federal to commence criminal proceedings against the automobile company as prayed by the plaintiff.