July 20, 2024

Court refuses to review judgment on sack of ECOWAS Commission staff


The Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African State has rejected the request by the ECOWAS Commission and its President to review the judgment that nullified the sack of a staff of the Commission, Suleiman Mohammad Hussaini.

The court had in 2022 held that the appointment of Hussaini, a Controller with the ECOWAS Commission, was illegally and unlawfully terminated by the Commission and its President.

In a ruling on the application by the ECOWAS Commission seeking a review of the judgment against it, Justice Dupe Atoki held that the application was inadmissible and lacked merit.

Justice Atoki who is a member of the three-man panel of Justices that heard the ECOWAS Commission’s application, said that reasons advanced in the application for review of the judgment delivered on March 10, 2022 was untenable.

The judgment delivered in the suit marked ECW/CCJ/JUD/03/22 had faulted the termination of appointment of Hussaini as a staff of the ECOWAS Commission carried out on February 27, 2018 and set it aside.

However, two months after the judgment was delivered, the ECOWAS Commission and its President returned to the same court pleading that the judgment against them be reviewed.

Their claim in the application for judgment review was that they had stumbled on a fresh fact that Hussaini was charged with criminal offences at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The ECOWAS Commission and the President asked the court for an order stopping payment of salaries to Hussaini until the criminal charges against him on alleged financial irregularities are fully determined.

Their grouse was that Hussaini was aware of the criminal charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) but concealed the charges and refused to bring it to the attention of the ECOWAS Commission.

However Hussaini in opposition to the application for judgment review, asked for its dismissal on the ground that the request was inadmissible having fallen short of requirements under Article 25 of the 1999 Protocol and Articles 92 and 93 of the Court’s Rules.

Hussaini asserted that the charges against him did not arise as at February 27, 2018, when his appointment was unlawfully terminated and that he was not under any obligation to bring information on the charges to the attention of the Commission and its President as they claimed.

He asserted that on September 27, 2019, his name was dropped from the charges leaving only one Muhammad Dangana as sole defendant.

Hussaini demanded the dismissal of the judgment review application and prayed that the ECOWAS Commission and its President be ordered to pay him one million dollars ($1,000,000) as damages for filing frivolous, vexatious, irritating and baseless application against him.

In its ruling, the court held that the ECOWAS Commission and its President met the requirements of presenting fresh facts and applying within timeline.

The court however said that the ignorance of the ECOWAS Commission and its President was due to their negligence and that their application failed to meet the cumulative requirements of Article 25 of the Protocol and Article 92 of the Rules of the Court.

Justice Atoki alongside Justices Gberi-be Outtara, who presided and Ricardo Claudio Monteiro Goncalves, unanimously declared the application inadmissible and consequently dismissed it for lacking in merit.



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