In what appears to be a move to force a lower court to adjudicate on a case that has gone on appeal before a higher court, Braco Ventures Limited and its Managing Director, Saliu Ibrahim, have gone before a Lagos State High Court seeking to enforce a judgment sum of N44.68 million against the defunct City Express Bank Plc and its Directors, one of whom is industrialist, Prince Samuel Adedoyin.
City Express Bank and Adedoyin had filed an appeal against earlier judgements given by Justice K. O. Dawudu of the Lagos State High Court and Justice Tijani Abubakar of the Federal High Court at the Court of Appeal.
However, despite the fact that the defendants in the case have gone to the Court of Appeal and the appellants duly notified, both Braco Ventures Limited and Ibrahim have returned to the lower court headed by Dawudu to enforce the judgement.
The judgment creditors, through their lawyer, Babatunde Oshilaja, in an application filed before the court, prayed the court for an Order directing all the banks to attach all the monies held by them as bankers to the judgement debtors to satisfy the N44,684,424.00 judgement sum.
Ibrahim, in an affidavit he deposed to, said he had suffered series of hardships, financial embarrassment and incapacitating business failures following judgement debtors’ failure to pay the judgement debt.
However the judgement debtors through their lawyer, Barrister Tunde Akinrimisi, have described the garnishee proceeding as an abuse of court process and an attempt to foster a situation of hopelessness on the Court of Appeal since there is a pending appeal against the judgement.
In an affidavit sworn to by litigation manager from the law firm of Sanusi, Akinrimisi and company, Kabiru Salawu, and filed before the court by Akinrimisi, the deponent averred that the judgement creditors were customers of the defunct City Express Bank who obtained default judgement against the bank, EIB International Bank Plc and one Olabode Rotimi Bello at a Lagos High Court.
Sequel to the judgement, the bank went into receivership and was taken over by Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC.
Adedoyin, who is the chairman of the defunct City Express Bank, attested to the fact that all the creditors of the defunct bank have been paid monies owed to them by the NDIC and that therefore the judgement creditors are only using the court to seek double compensation.
He stated further that there is a subsistence order of stay of execution of the judgement, upon which the garnishee order is based and had not been vacated.
Besides, Akinrimisi stated that there is pending appeal in relation to the judgement relied upon by the judgement creditors and that same has been entered at the Court of Appeal.
He said prior to the judgement creditors’ application before the court, the judgement creditors had a pending application before the appellate court for an order that the judgement sum should be deposited with the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court.
He stated that where there is a pending application before an appellate court, it is desirous that the appellate court be allowed to make a decision in order not to make the final decision of the court nugatory.
Akinrimisi said “The judgement creditors are aware of the stay of execution and other processes still pending before the Court of Appeal yet brought this processes without disclosing fundamental and material facts before the court.”
He urged the court to refuse making the garnishee order absolute and also discharge the order, adding that the present proceeding is premature.
Akinrimisi also told the court that he was not served with any order of the court but filed his response out of caution.
In similar circumstances, lawyers representing seven of the banks told the court that the order of the court served on them bears no address and urged the court to allow them serve the creditors’ lawyer in the open court.
But Osilaja refused service in court, insisting on being served in his office.
Justice Dawudu has adjourned till March 23, 2016 the for report of service.