His Lordship, Hon. Justice Sanusi Kado of the National Industrial Court, Abuja Judicial Division has nullified the purported letter of suspension of former GMD Abuja Investment Company Limited, Dr. Ahmed Musa from office dated 12th April 2017, declined the claims for emoluments, entitlements and N5 Billion Special damages for lack of proof and being vague.
The Court held that the mere fact that the Minister Of Federal Capital Territory and Federal Capital Territory Administration owns the shares of the Abuja Investment Company is not a license for them to interfere in the affairs of the firm to the extent of making appointment and suspension of Employees.
In summary, Claimant’s- Dr. Musa was appointed ‘Group Managing Director’ of the Abuja Investment Company Limited a company in which the Federal Capital Territory Administration-2nd Defendant is the shareholder, by the then holder of the office of the Minister Of Federal Capital Territory -1st Defendant and was regularised by the Board of Directors of the AICL on 20th July 2012.
The Claimant stated that following change in the administration of the FCTA subterranean, petitions was written against him and after investigation, he was exonerated, and further submitted that based on the petition to EFCC, he was suspended from work in 2017.
In defence, the defendant averred that Claimant was suspended from office pending the outcome of the investigation to protect the overall interest of the company, that when the suit was instituted, the stipulated three months which claimant could be suspended for had not elapsed, submitted that the claimant’s suit is premature, lacking in merit and should be dismissed accordingly.
The defendants further averred that the Claimant was never appointed as a Director of Abuja Investments Company Ltd, a pre-requisite for a valid appointment as its managing Director by other members of the Board of Directors, as mandated by the Article of Association of the company that he has no reasonable cause of action and has not proved that his suspension is wrongful.
In his reply, Counsel to the claimant’s contended that its more than two years since the claimant was sent away on suspension and without pay contrary to the express provisions of the employee's Handbook of Abuja investments Company Limited or the public service rule under which he was suspended.
Delivering judgment, the trial Judge, Justice Sanusi Kado re-affirmed the earlier ruling delivered on 7/2/2018 that the claimant has disclosed a reasonable cause of action and further held that If the Defendants wanted to challenge the validity of the Claimant’s Employment they should have counter-claim or file a separate legal action to that effect.
“I have searched the Companies and Allied Matters Act and the Article of Association of the Abuja Investment Company Limited there is nothing contained in these document on provisions for suspension of Group Managing Director or a Director of the company.
“However, the evidence before the court clearly shows that the Claimant was not employed by the Federal Civil Service Commission to bring him within the ambit of the Civil Service and to make Public Service Rules Applicable to his employment/appointment. In the circumstances, he cannot be suspended under the provisions of Public Service Rules as the letter of suspension sought to do.
“The mere fact that the petition on which Claimant was suspended is to the knowledge of the Defendants had been investigated by ICPC, smacks of mala fide. In that kind of situation, the Claimant was right in approaching the Court for redress and the action of the Claimant will not in any way described as premature.
On the Claim for emolument and entitlement, the Court held that Claimant has not tendered any evidence as to what his emolument is and has not tendered his payslip for the Court to know what he is being as his Monthly Salary, that the failure by the claimant to prove the quantum of his claim has deprived the court of the power to grant such claim, that the claim is nebulous, indistinct and vague.
In all, the Court declared the suspension of the Claimant from office as illegal, null and void as it was made by persons without vires to make such suspension and set it aside for having not been issued by the appropriate authority.
The Court ordered Defendants to pay N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) cost of action to the Claimant within One Month.