A Lagos High Court in Igbosere on Thursday dismissed a motion by the Executive Director of Lekki Gardens Estate Limited, Mr Sola Olumofe, seeking to quash the criminal charges filed against him.
The Lagos State Government had in a suit, accused Mr Olumofe and others of negligence in the events leading to the collapse of a building in Lekki area of the state on March 10, 2016.
Olumofe, the Managing Director of Lekki Gardens, Richard Nyong and others are standing trial before Justice Sybil Nwaka over the building collapse which reportedly claimed 34 lives.
Other defendants are Odofin Henry Taiwo, Omolabake Mortune, Omotilewa Oluwatosin Joseph, Lekki Gardens, Get Too Rich Investment Limited and HC Insight Solution Limited.
The Executive Director, through his lawyer, George Oguntade, had urged the court to quash the charge against him on the grounds that the criminal charge disclosed no prema facie case against him, and that the prosecution failed to invite him for questioning before the charge was filed.
In response, the state government had faulted the application, saying even Olumofe admitted in his supporting affidavit that there was a nexus between him and the matter, being the lead technical professional in the making of decisions with respect to the construction of the collapsed building.
The government had further argued that aside the fact that the Attorney General of the State has the constitutional duty to file criminal charge against anyone reasonably suspected to have committed a crime, Olumofe was invited by the police and the Building Collapse Prevention Guild set up by government to investigate the matter but he failed to present himself for questioning.
In her ruling, Justice Nwaka held that from the facts of the matter before the court, there were sufficient materials linking the defendant to the alleged crime and that it would be out of place to deny him the opportunity to prove his innocence.
“I have critically looked at the information and proof of evidence, as well as the counter affidavit. I have also looked at the further affidavit of the applicant. I am of the opinion that sufficient linkage exists in the proof of evidence to connect the applicant with the information. The era of technicality is dead and buried; courts are expected to do substantial justice,” Justice Nwaka ruled.
The judge thereby dismissed the application and ordered arraignment of the defendants.