Court fixes July 3 for ruling on contempt suit against Emefiele
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court, Lagos has fixed July 3, 2019 to rule on a contempt application filed against the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele by former employee of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).The applicant alleged that the defendant willfully and intentionally disobeyed order absolute made by the court over pension and gratuity.
The judge fixed the date after the submission of Mr. Johnson Esezoobo, counsel to the applicant, Sunny Odunwo. Esezoobo argued that the court should commit to prison, Mr. Emefiele and Mr. Johnson Akinkumi, the bank’s Director of Legal Services, for intentionally disobeying order absolute made by the court.
Justice Olatoregun had on November 7, 2008, while delivering judgment in a suit number FHC/L/CS/1171/2005, filed by Odunwo against NAN and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), held that Odunwo is qualified for pension and gratuity and ordered both NAN and AGF to compute the said gratuity and pension and pay same to him forthwith.
For failure of the NAN and AGF to obey the order after 10 years without appeal, the court on January 23, 2019, made a garnishee order nissi attaching NAN and AGF’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) accounts with CBN and ordered that the judgment sum from 2008 be paid with 10 percent interest from the TSA account. The judge on March 7, 2019, made the order absolute.
Esezoobo prayed the court to grant the application and commit both Emefiele and Akinkumi to prison. He informed the court that all the processes including garnishee order nissi and order absolute have been served on the contemnors on May 3, 2019, at the Lagos liaison office of the bank.
He submitted that his application was supported by a 21 paragraph-affidavit swore to by Odunwo wherein he averred that the court gave judgment in the case on November 7, 2008 and held that he is qualified for pension and gratuity and ordered his employer, NAN, to compute forthwith the said gratuity a pension benefits and pay same forthwith, adding that there was no appeal against the judgment for over 10 years.
Odunwo averred that to prevent the enforcement of the judgment, NAN secretly went to the Pension Transition Administration Directorate (PTAD) without notifying him and obtained a letter dated July 27, 2017, to nullify the court’s judgment by declaring that he is not entitled to any form of pension and gratuity.
Odunowo further averred that as a fact, on or about January 23, 2019, the court made a garnishee order nissi attaching NAN’s TSA with the CBN in the judgment sum with interest at 10 percent from 2008 up to date.
And that as a fact, on or about March 7, 2019, the court made the order nissi absolute and it was duly served on the CBN on March 18, 2019 and CBN became obligated forthwith to pay him the money or in alternative, pay the attached sum to the court.He also stated that as a fact, there was no appeal against the order absolute by CBN, and wondered why the alleged contemnors have refused to comply with the court’s order as enjoined by Sections 24 and 278(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.The matter has been adjourned to July 3, 2019 for ruling.
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