20 April 2013, Abuja – The Supreme Court, Friday, declined to reinstate a former Assistant Director, Building Engineering Services Department at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Rasaki Abiola Ekunola, who was dismissed in February 2000 following his alleged complicity in diesel fraud.
The appellant was said to have masterminded the illegal diversion of diesel meant for distribution to other locations of the CBN’s points of business activities.
An audit panel that was set-up by the apex bank had found him guilty and referred him to a disciplinary committee which inturn, recommended his sack, noting that his action not only resulted in a heavy financial loss equally but incurred huge financial deficits for the bank.
However, dissatisfied with his dismissal, Ekunola took the case to court, insisting that he was not accorded fair hearing.
Besides, he argued that the Director of Personnel at the CBN, Alhaji Saidu Mohammed, witch-hunted him unnecessarily, just as he sought to be returned back to office and paid all his entitlements.
Meantime, following the dismissal of his suit by the high court, the ex-Director went on appeal were he also lost.
In his appeal before the apex court, the appellant, contended that by not having been arraigned before the appropriate central disciplinary committees of the bank by the bank itself but before an illegal committee that was set up by the machinations of 2nd respondent (Mohammed), his dismissal amounted to a nullity.
The appellant said he was irked by the fact that having placed sufficient materials to show who had powers to discipline him and who actually wrongfully disciplined him, yet the trial court as affirmed by the appeal court, wrongly found that he failed to prove his case to entitle him to a recall.
Delivering judgment on the matter, a 5-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad unanimously upheld his sack, adding that the bank accorded him opportunities to exculpate himself.
*Ikechukwu Nnochiri, Vanguard