Re: “Notice of Suspected Corruption”: Why we charge 10% of all filing fees – FCT High Court
Re: “Public Notice of Suspected Corruption in the High Court of the FCT-Abuja’s Administration and Management”:
A CLARIFICATION BY THE HIGH COURT OF THE FCT, ABUJA
The attention of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has been drawn to an online publication made on 16 January, 2019 by one Hameed Ajibola Jimoh, captioned: “Public Notice of Suspected Corruption in the High Court of the FCT-Abuja’s Administration and Management”.
As a matter of policy, the High Court of the FCT, Abuja being aware of its solemn duty in dispensing justice to all, irrespective of status, does not join issues with members of the public, especially when such issues are founded on baseless allegations such as the one under reference. But for the fact that there is the need to put things in their proper perspectives, added to the fact that this character, Hameed Ajibola Jimoh, has, over a long period of time, consistently made himself a peddler of malicious falsehood, particularly against the management of the High Court of the FCT, Abuja, we would have had no need for this publication. It is often said that a lie told often enough, when not rebutted, may be seen as the truth. Mr. Jimoh, a serial blackmailer, has on several occasions, made publications online, disparaging the High Court of the FCT, Abuja. It will be recalled that he, on April 12, 2018, made a publication captioned: “The Disappointing Conducts Of Some Of The Fct High Court’s Staff: A Clarion Call On The FCT High Court’s Chief Judge For Immediate Preemptive Measures”. His grouse in the said publication being as result of an altercation he had with one of the court staff over service of process. He went online to make so much disparaging remarks about the High Court of the FCT, and thereon directed the Honourable Chief Judge to employ more staff, since according to him; each court has about one or two Bailiffs that serve court processes. If not for ignorance of the workings of court, Mr. Jimoh would not expect the Court to employ one Bailiff per case, since a Bailiff can conveniently serve over twenty (20) processes in a day within the FCT, where the average number of cases daily assigned to any court in the FCT, does not exceed a maximum of five (5).
Also, in 2018, Mr. Jimoh wrote two petitions against the management of the High Court of the FCT, Abuja, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). Precisely, on the 5th day of November, 2018, he wrote a petition to the EFCC, captioned: “PETITION AGAINST THE MANAGEMENT OF THE HIGH COURT OF THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY-ABUJA AND YWC TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED PURSUANT TO THE SECTION 6 AND OTHER ENABLING PROVISIONS OF THE ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION ACT, 2004.”
Not done with the above, Mr. Jimoh, on the 8th of November, 2018, wrote another petition to the ICPC captioned: “PETITION AGAINST THE MANAGEMENT OF THE HIGH COURT OF THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY-ABUJA AND YWC TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE INDEPENDENT CORRUPT PRACTICES AND OTHER RELATED OFFENCES ACT (ICPC)”.
In both petitions, Mr. Jimoh made spurious and unsubstantiated allegations based on his fertile imagination and profound ignorance of the Case Management Platform established in the interest of all court users in the FCT Judiciary, Abuja.
It is against this background of series of ceaseless and unabated malicious misinformation being concocted and fed members of the public by this Jimoh character that has necessitated the need for this clarification, not that it will make him stop his campaign of calumny which has become his stock in trade, but for the duty we owe members of the public as the custodians of truth, equity and justice.
The truth of the matter is that, the High Court of the FCT, Abuja, in line with its policy of providing an efficient and effective justice administration within the FCT, Abuja, sometime in 2013, met with all stakeholders of the justice system and agreed to implement a modernized court case management system that will make justice more accessible to all court users within the FCT. As a result of this meeting in which all relevant stakeholders in the justice administration system participated in, it was generally agreed on the need for the High Court of the FCT, Abuja, to introduce the E-Filing system, where lawyers can file matters online from the comfort of their offices and homes, without the need to be physically present in Court. As laudable as this project is, yet some lawyers complained of lack of requisite internet facilities to file matters electronically. Consequently, it was resolved, after a background study of other jurisdictions like Malaysia, Singapore and the United States of America, that the best approach was to take the burden off the lawyers by assisting them with the digitization process, hence the introduction of the Courts’ Case Management System (CCMS) project, to cater for an electronic archive and data backup for all cases/matters filed in the Court
As a result of the above understanding, a private company with the requisite skill in this field, YWC Technologies Limited was appointed as the service provider to develop a functional Court Case Management System, deploy and integrate the Court’s software application on the dedicated server, provide maintenance support, as well as devise a seamless means for knowledge transfer to staff of the Court. Meanwhile, with the introduction of the CCMS, it was agreed by all stakeholders that lawyers can, for the time being, file their processes manually but drop an extra copy for digitization by the Court, on payment on 10% of the filing fee, which goes to the Consultants, YWC Technologies, who will, in turn feed such data into a central data storage facility, pending such a time that the E-Filing system will fully come in place. With the CCMS, all processes filed into the Court’s Central Registry since the 22nd day of August, 2016, are saved on the Court’s Database.
On the face of every of such court process, is written the assessment that clearly indicates 10% for “CCMS”. This fact can be attested to by a cursory glance at any of our Court’s processes filed at the Central Registry. If Mr. Jimoh has filed any process in our Court within this period, he will equally attest to this fact.
Similarly, an Affidavit Module was also created under the CCMS platform. The aim is to capture all depositions in every affidavit made in the Courts of the FCT, Abuja. This is in line with global best practices of ensuring that depositions from the courts are neither forged nor cloned, and can be verified from a Court’s database.
It is important to state here that all payments in respect of any court process filed are made through the bank, which issues such persons a teller with which they are in turn issued with receipts to enable them file their processes. The High Court of the FCT, Abuja, DOES NOT, AND HAS NEVER COLLECTED CASH from any court user. All monies and court fees due the government are paid into the banks and are directly remitted into the Federal Government’s account under the Single Treasury Account (TSA) system currently in operation. Also, the percentage due to the Consultant is paid directly into the Consultant’s account.
No member of the management of the High Court of the FCT, Abuja, has any relationship, whatsoever with YWC technologies Limited; none is a Director in the company, and none has any vested interest in the company.
Mr. Jimoh, in one of his spurious allegations in his publication of 16th January, 2018, against the High Court of the FCT, Abuja, stated that he was informed that his letter to the Court requesting for certain information “could no longer be traced”. He never stated who informed him that the said letter could no longer be traced, yet, in the said publication, he admitted this much in respect of his application, “… the application for the Certified True Copy was received by the Chief Registrar’s Office on the 23rd day of October, 2018. After submission, the application was referred to the Director Litigation’s office of the Court on the 18th of November, 2018. Then, it was referred to the Head of Process of the Court on the 13th day of November, 2018.
After that, I went to confirm the status, the record showed that the application had been referred back to the Director Litigation, precisely in the Litigation’s registry on the 19th day of November, 2018. Then from the Litigation Registry’s record, it was discovered that the application has been moved back to the Chief Registrar’s office on the 22nd day of November, 2018.”
From the above account by Mr. Jimoh, contrary to his insinuations in the said publication, his application was given prompt attention, just like all others issues that come daily before the Office of the Chief Registrar. The High Court of the FCT, Abuja, is not a one man enterprise; it is a large public institution, with various specialised departments that handle related issues referred to them. In his application, Mr. Jimoh requested for a potpourri of information, some of which were already within his knowledge; some others needed some length of time to retrieve, while some bordered on the absurd.
In his application, Mr. Jimoh requested for information on the total amount generated by the Consultant, from 22nd August, 2016, till date; providing such information, ordinarily lies within the purview of the Consultant and the Bank, which obviously requires time and patience, the latter of which Mr. Jimoh does seem to have been sparsely endowed with.
Here is a man who has written several petitions against YWC Technologies Ltd., and boasted on how he has conducted search on the company at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), turning around to apply to the High Court to avail him of the Certified True Copy of the name YWC Technologies Ltd., as if the company was registered by the High Court, and not the CAC. If this is not plain mischief by a character that parades as a lawyer, one wonders what the real motive of this young man is.
The truth of the matter is that no one informed Mr. Jimoh that his application was missing, that is why he has failed to mention any name. His application was never missing. No one has ever complained that any document sent to the Office of the Chief Registrar has been missing. Movements of files and processes within the High Court are well documented, and easily traceable. Cases are filed on daily basis, and such case files moved from one relevant office or the other until they finally get to their assigned courts, without any complaint from any litigant. He admitted this seamless movement of files from the excerpts of his publication reproduced above. The reply to his application has since been ready in the office of the Chief Registrar, but instead of going to the office to collect same, he chose to revel in his usual campaign of calumny against the Court, knowing full well that Courts, by their nature, do not have the luxury of always stating their own side of the story in public. As a member of the Bar, and a very young one at that, one had expected Mr. Jimoh to seek clarification from the relevant branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) that he may belong, assuming he has ever attended any meeting at all. He would do none of it, but would rather prefer to continuously and persistently engage in his futile attempt at tarnishing the image of the High Court of the FCT, Abuja.
From every indication, Mr. Jimoh wants to make a name for himself as a “human rights advocate”. He is entitled to that, but his choice of the High of the FCT, Abuja, which he has seen as his forum to display the most brazen and crude form of hyperactive and misinformed activism that is not grounded in truth, leaves so much to be desired.
Mr. Jimoh is by this publication advised to desist from his futile attempts at dragging the untainted image of the High Court of the FCT, Abuja, in the mud. But should he continue in these repeated mischievous onslaughts against the Court, we shall take all possible legal means to call him to order.
The High Court of the FCT, Abuja will always continue in its efforts towards providing a more accessible and faster justice delivery to all within the FCT.
Senior Special Assistant (Special Duties)
Office of the Chief Registrar,
High Court of the FCT, Abuja.
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