6th July, 2011
Skye bank has refuted newspaper reports that its Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti was arrested or committed to jail as reported by some sections of the media.
According to a statement by Kayode Akinyemi, Head, Corporate Affairs, Skye Bank Plc, Justice Archibong of the Federal High Court Lagos made a Garnishee Order Nisi against the account of Nigeria Customs with the Bank.
An affidavit was filed stating that the Nigeria Customs has a revenue Collection Account with the bank, and as such the balances in the said account belong to the Federal Government, and cannot be attached. The Bank also deposed to the fact that the account is a No Debit Account.
In spite of this, Akinyemi said, the judge made the order absolute, ordering the bank to pay the sum of N6 million from the Federal Governmentâ€™s money, knowing full well that the Federal Government is not the judgment debtor, and the money does not belong to the judgment debtor – the Nigerian Customs Service.
â€œThe judgment creditorâ€™s lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) also went ahead to file papers for contempt proceedings against some principal officers of the bank, including the GMD, and the Company Secretary. However, non of the bankâ€™s principal officers including the GMD ever got the papers purportedly served.
â€œIn respect for the law, the bank issued a draft for the payment of the money. However, a notice of appeal was also filed at the Court of Appeal against the ruling of Justice Archibong. In addition, an application for an injunction to restrain presentation or giving of value to the cheque, in view of the grievous fact that the money in question does not belong to the Nigerian Customs Service was also filed.
â€œWhen the cheque came through from clearing, the bank gave value to it under caution to the receiving bank, attaching the various applications that are pending at the Court of Appeal over the money. The receiving bank, however, returned the money to Skye Bank pending when all the issues are resolved.â€
The counsel to the judgement creditor regardless of the instituted case in the Court of Appeal went ahead to request a warrant of arrest against the GMD and other principal officers of the bank which Justice Archibong granted. Part of the allegations was that the Bank issued a dud cheque (which as detailed above is not the case), Akinyemi said.
According to him, the bankâ€™s lawyers appeared in court on behalf of the GMD and other principal officers of the bank. They pointed out the fact that the irregularities of the committal processes are subject of an appeal pending before the Court of Appeal. The judge however inexplicably proceeded to take an application against the bank.
He said the judge went ahead to order the GMDâ€™s arrest, or any other principal officer of the Bank if he could not be apprehended. He also ordered that the bank must give value to the cheque, and awarded damages of N5m against Skye Bank.
â€œIt is important to note that the judge does not have any jurisdiction to entertain this matter anymore, as the appeal has been entered at the Court of Appeal, a number issued and the case file transferred to the Court of Appeal. â€œThe bank stands by the provisions of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act that stipulates that contempt proceedings cannot be instituted for failure to money judgments. â€œThe bank has since filed appropriate applications to challenge the judgment,â€ he said.