A Chief Magistrate Court at Ogba, Lagos, on Monday sentenced the Managing Director (MD) of Fidelity Bank, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe alongside Ezinwa Unuigboje the Bank Secretary to six weeks imprisonment over the disobedience of a garnishee order of court.
In a seating on Monday, Magistrate Lateef Owolabi gave the sentence sequel to a garnishee order he gave on December 6, 2022 asking 16 banks not to allow a judgment debtor, Prince Enabulele Ozaze access to his bank accounts pending the payment of N2.8 million judgment debt in suit involving the sale of a Toyota Corolla car.
In the main suit, Magistrate Owolabi had given judgment on October 13, 2022, in favour of the plaintiff, Jibrin Ahmed who sued the defendant over the payment of N2.8 million he made to the defendant for the purchase of a Toyota Corolla car.
Owolabi said: “I have examined the whole process filed by the claimant and hold that the claimant is entitled to judgment not necessarily because the defendant is absent, but because the claimant has made a case worthy of being entitled to judgment. The totalities of evidence presented are relevant and reliable.”
The magistrate further entered judgment against the defendant in the sum of N2.8 million which is due to the claimant over the transaction that took place in July 2022.
The claimant’s lawyer, Alayo Akanbi filed a garnishe proceeding before the court and attached 17 banks, and asked the court to stop the banks from allowing the defendant to draw money from his accounts with them pending the liquidation of the debt. The garnishee order was granted on December 6, 2022.
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However, on January 25, 2023, the claimant, now judgment creditor deposed to an affidavit before the court where he showed that the garnishee order have been flouted by Fidelity bank. He showed instances of how the judgment debtor had been withdrawing funds from his account to the extent that he had depleted the funds in his account with Fidelity bank.
On January 18, 2023, the court ordered the Managing Director and Company Secretary to appear in person before the court to explain why they should not be committed to prison for allowing the judgment debtor to dissipate the funds in his account after the service of the garnishe order.
However, at the proceeding on Monday, February 6, the Managing Director and Company were not in court as ordered.
The lawyer to the judgment creditor told the court how the two had disobeyed the garnishee order of the court.
Owolabi, in his ruling, then sentenced the Managing Director and Company Secretary to six weeks imprisonment each.
He ordered the Lagos State Commissioner of Police and any officer under his command to arrest the duo, bring them to court for onward transfer to the appropriate correctional center.
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