The Federal High Court in Lagos today (Wednesday) ordered the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to pay a lawyer, Kameos Omosivwe, the sum of N200, 000 as damages for unlawfully impounding his vehicle.
Presiding Judge, Justice Okon Abang said the action of LASTMA in impounding Omosivwe’s vehicle and forcing him to pay illegal fines, is an assumption of judicial functions, and as such he declared it null and void.
The court also held that the lawyer was at liberty to seek leave of court, to commence contempt proceedings against one Adewumi Adeosun, an officer of LASTMA who was involved in the impoundment.
The lawyer had gone before the court to challenge the wrongful detention of his vehicle by LASTMA officials for several months.
He filed the suit on Feb. 15, seeking a declaration that the detention of his vehicle by LASTMA, was an affront on his right to fair hearing as enshrined in the constitution.
Omosivwe also sought a declaration that the imposition of a fine on his vehicle by the respondent, constitutes a violation of his freedom to own movable properties.
Justice Abang in his judgment, apart from awarding N200,000 against LASTMA, also awarded a cost of N20,000 for the action.
He further held that the action of the respondent was a gross misrepresentation of the law.
The court also noted that although the respondent had contended that the LASTMA Laws 2004, as enacted by the Lagos State House of Assembly, empowers its officers to carry out their duties, such laws cannot negate the principles of separation of power.