Whistleblower Wins Case Against Asaba College As Court Sets Aside School’s Decision To Sack Him
The Presiding Judge, Awka Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court, Justice John Targema has set aside the decision of the Federal College of Education, Asaba to terminate the employment of Joseph Ameh pending the determination of the motion on notice.
Justice Targema also put an order of mandatory injunction meant to compel the registrar, provost, and governing council of the institution to reinstate the name of the Joseph in the payroll in abeyance mode pending the hearing and full determination of the motion on notice.
In 2020, Ameh, a whistleblower, had revealed corrupt activities and looting going on at the Federal College of Education (Technical), Asaba, Delta State.
Ameh, head of the Physical Planning Division of the college, was fired by the institution after a petition he sent to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) revealing a series of corrupt activities happening in the institution under the supervision of the Provost, Dr (Mrs) Anene Okeakwa; Acting Director Of Works, Engr Ibhafidon Ehimen; with the support of members of the governing council of the institution.
Joseph said his appointment was terminated on May 13, 2020, on account of his petitions to the ICPC in a bid to silence him.
He also indicted the ICPC for revealing information to the institution, which eventually led to the termination of his appointment by the college.
He stated that the institution was worried that he was not yielding to the demands to alter or falsify records to divert funds meant for projects in the school.
On Tuesday, at the court hearing, Ameh stated that the defendants, on being served with the substantive suit as well as the motion for interlocutory injunction, decided to undermine and pre-empt the court and had the hidden agenda to foist a fait accompli on the Honourable Court.
In opposition, the institution argued that the letter of termination of Joseph Ameh’s appointment was prepared before filing the case but was not issued to Ameh on the same day he managed to come to school. They also claimed they did not plot to subvert, sabotage, undermine and foist a faith accompli on the Court.
The counsel for the institution, P.O. Ugbo with M.K. Umeana averred that Joseph Ameh has not discharged the very high standard of proof to be entitled to an order for mandatory injunction against the institution.
The duo stated that the court must be circumspect and neutral by maintaining a balance between the parties and by desisting from making any issues that will finally determine the substantive case which will still be pending before it.
They urged the court to refuse the application in the interest of justice, noting that the claimant’s dismissal was in line with due process.
However, while delivering the ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Targema held that the institution’s termination of Joseph’s appointment after service of court processes on them was not the appropriate thing to do.
He ruled, “The decision by the 1st to 4th defendants to terminate the appointment of the claimant on 13th May, 2020 after the 1st to 4th defendants were served the complaint and motion on notice for an interlocutory injunction (filed on 8th May, 2020) on 11th May, 2020 effectively snuffed life out of the claimant’s originating processes; the rest in this suit.”