19th August, 2010
Contrary to the deposition of a Lagos businessman, Emmanuel Ivwurie and his company, Emivag Equity Limited, in a fundamental human right enforcement suit filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos, that he is being threatened and harassed, the police has alleged that the man is being investigated for issuing dud cheque.
In an affidavit sworn to by the Relationship Manager of First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Marina, Lagos branch, Mr. Amedu Oche, it was alleged that Emmanuel Ivwurie was granted consumer loan for auto finance in the sum of N4 million in August, 2006, while he made equity contribution of N3,250,000 towards the outright purchase of a Prado brand SUV in the sum of N7,250,000.
The tenure of the loan was for three years commencing from the date of acceptance.
Mr. Oche averred that early in 2009, Emmanuel Ivwurie started defaulting in repayment of the loan.
The bank made several visits to the applicant while a demand letter was also written to him, still he refused to liquidate the debt.
Sometimes in May this year, the debt recovery team of the bank paid an unscheduled visit to the applicantâ€™s residence, but were shocked to discover that Ivwurie had vacated his last known residence without informing the bank.
Consequently, the bankâ€™s Account Officer was mandated to visit the applicant in his office the following day and pledged to repay before 10 June, the outstanding debt of N2,165,692.82.
On 3 June, the applicant forwarded N500,000 cheque to the bank as part payment of his debt, while he made a cash payment of N500,000 into his account the following day.
However, when his cheque was presented, it was discovered with the inscription of drawerâ€™s attention required and the bank made a formal complaint to the Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police against the applicant for issuing a dud cheque.
The police, in the course of investigation, invited the applicant after which he filed this suit for alleged breach of his fundamental right to liberty and freedom.
Although the applicant, in his averment, alleged that he instructed the bank not to present the said cheque until he had made payment in lieu of the cheque, this deposition was denied by the bank.
It was further alleged that the bankâ€™s complaint to the police was strictly criminal in nature, which led to the commencement of a criminal investigation and not a civil debt recovery process by the police as alleged by the applicant. Therefore, the respondent averred that the filing of this suit is a desperate attempt by the applicant to prevent police from performing their lawful and valid criminal investigation and as a result, urged the court to dismiss it.