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Court urges CBN, others to explore out of court settlement in $53 million debt dispute

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Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has urged the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele to explore the possibility of out of court settlement in a suit brought against him over alleged $53 million unpaid legal fee.

The court also fixed March 24 for mention on the suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/1193/2017.  An Abuja-based Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Joe Agi, had on behalf of a team of benefiting lawyers, instituted a legal action against CBN, Minister of Finance and Lintas International Limited over alleged failure to comply with the Garnishee Order of court mandating the payment of $70 million to the beneficiaries.

The total sum of $70 million was the legal fee due to the team of lawyers that secured the Paris Club Refund.

Agi (Plaintiff/Judgment Creditor) had on October 16, 2018, obtained a Garnishee Order Nisi, directing the Central Bank of Nigeria to pay the said sum of $70 million.

However, the CBN Governor, Emefiele on November 21, 2018, allegedly ignored the order when he paid only $17 million out of the sum ordered by the court, to the judgment creditor.

Dissatisfied with the development, Agi returned to the court on behalf of his team and on July 5, 2019, he obtained a Garnishee Order Absolute against CBN of which Emefiele is the Governor and alter ego.

The court had also on January 23, summoned Emefiele for the second consecutive times to appear before it.

When the matter came up for hearing on January 23, Emefiele was not in court and after Mr. Jephthah Njikonye (SAN), counsel to the judgment creditor (Agi) had told the court that Emefiele was served the judgment summon, yet, he neither appeared in court nor send a representative, Justice Ekwo issued a fresh order summoning the CBN Governor to appear and answer to the issues thereto on the next adjourned date of February 26.

And at the resumed sitting however, counsel to parties were fully represented. But counsel to Emefiele, G G. Dodo, prayed the court for a brief adjournment to enable him study the brief, which he has just inherited from the previous counsel.

“I have just been briefed on this matter. I have shared my limitations concerning the matter with my colleagues. I am requesting for time to enable me look at the papers for me to be able to advise my client whether or not to proceed with the matter,” he said.


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