Two years after it sat to decide cases, the Investments and Securities Tribunal (IST) began sitting in Enugu on Tuesday, with a warning that it would not entertain frivolous applications aimed at delaying justice and unnecessarily overstretching cases.
It stated that it would stick to the three months deadline for the adjudication of any matter, stressing that it was the only way in which the 54 cases inherited by the new panel constituted last month could dispense the matters.
Chairman of the 10-members tribunal, Siaka Idoko–Akor, who disclosed this in Enugu, shortly after their maiden sitting, emphasized the need for lawyers and parties to cases to adhere strictly to rules and regulations guiding the conduct of the tribunal, lamenting that attitude of counsels have always hindered quick dispensation of cases.
He said: “Having realized the fact that the tribunal had not sat for a long time and that there are many pending cases, the new tribunal has swung into action starting from Abuja, Lagos and we are now in Enugu in continuation of the sitting to dispose of the pending cases and attend to new ones.
“On the whole, we met about 54 cases that were either partly tried or freshly filed and going by the legal principle that there has to be fair hearing in all cases, we have to start hearing them de’novo(afresh), so as to afford us the opportunity of giving parties fair hearing so as to arrive at justiceable decision. The 54 cases spread across Enugu, Kano, Abuja, Lagos among others.
The Tribunal sat for the last time in 2015. Akor added: “I think it is true that the previous tribunal did not deliver any judgment in the cases handled before they were dissolved, but I think that the government that dissolved them has her reason for doing so. Now there is a fresh panel in place; it means they (government) want a change in the way and manner the previous tribunal was conducting its affairs.
“As far as we are concerned, we are here to look at the rules. The law setting up the tribunal says so. The act setting up the tribunal prescribed a minimum of three months in which a case that has gone into hearing to end and judgment delivered.
“The target of this tribunal is to ensure that a case that goes into hearing could end in less than three months. To enable us achieve this, we have come up with certain practices and that is, to do away with frivolous and ambiguous practices from counsels or parties that occasion delay because justice delayed is justice denied”.