20th September, 2012
In a bid to enforce an order of a federal high court alleged to have been disobeyed by a commercial bank in Lagos, a limited liability company, Hensmor Nigeria Limited, has commenced committal to prison proceeding “FORM 49” against three principal officers of First City Monument Bank Plc, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ladi Balogun, Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Segun Odusanya and Executive Director, Finance, Mr. Peter Obaseki.
In an affidavit in support of the committal to prison application sworn to by Chief litigation officer, Mr. Jaremiah Salako and filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer, Barrister Jide Zaid, the Deponent averred that based on the judgement of N6,841,108,152.05k obtained by Nensmor Nigeria Limited against National Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, the court on 15 May, 2012 granted a garnishee order against First City Monument Bank Plc and 22 other banks including Central Bank of Nigeria.
Upon the service of the said garnishee order nisi on the bank on 16 May, 2012, the bank declared vide its letter dated 17 May, 2012 and affidavit to show cause dated 28 May, 2012 that NIMASA does not maintain any account with the bank, and therefore, prayed the court to be discharged from the garnishee proceedings.
However, it was later discovered after discreet investigation that FCMB assertions were lies on cover-up and this prompted the counsel to judgement creditor to write the bank and expose the cover-up.
When it dawned on the bank that its attempt to cover up the judgement debtor, NIMASA and mislead the court has been revealed, the bank subsequently confessed in their second affidavit dated 11 June, 2012 and a letter dated 19 June, 2012 that NIMASA maintains several accounts and investments in excess of N6.8 billion on behalf of the judgement debtor.
On 2 July, the court granted a garnishee order absolute against the bank in the presence of its counsel, and the order was duly served on the bank and its counsel, the bank was ordered to pay over to the judgement creditor (Hensmor Company) the sum in excess of N6 billion in satisfaction of the judgement debt.
Despite the fact that the order was made by the consent of the counsel to the bank, the bank refuse and failed to comply with the garnishee order absolute up till now.
In view of this flagrant disobedience of the court order by FCMB, the judgement creditor filed and served FORM 48 on the counsel of the bank in line with the order of the court that the principal officers of the bank sought to be committed to prison are duly aware of the order of the court. Consequently, three principal officers of the bank namely Messers Ladi Balogun, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Segun Odusanya, the Deputy Managing Director and Peter Obaseki Executive Director Finance and directly responsible for the disobedience of the valid and subsisting order of the court.
In view of this, unless the said three principal officers are committed to prison as prayed, until they purge themselves of their contempt, they will never obey or comply with the order of the court.
Mr. Salako further averred that the conduct of the bank is utterly reprehensible and amounts to a surreptitious attempt to prevent the course of justice and ridicule the integrity of the court; therefore the court has a paramount obligation to protect its integrity and that of its orders in the interest of the due administration of justice. The matter has been adjourned for hearing.