Court rejects bank’s objection in N1b Pinnacle, ICPC suit
Imposes N100,000 Fine
Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has dismissed a preliminary objection filed by a new generation bank., challenging a suit filed by Pinnacle Communications Ltd (PCL) against it and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
PCL had in July 2018, dragged ICPC and the bank to court for unlawfully withholding its money domiciled in the bank without a valid court order, and consequently, is claiming N1billion damages against the agency.
Delivering ruling on the objection of the bank (second defendant), the court stated that the application lacked merit, was frivolous and incompetent.
Justice Taiwo held that counsel to the commercial bank, Okey Ojukwu ought not to have filed the preliminary objection in the first place because the December 14, 2018 judgement of Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, which voided and nullified the freezing of account of the plaintiff domiciled in the bank was explicit and unambiguous.Ojukwu had in the preliminary objection of the bank, claimed that the action it took by withholding the account of PCL was a “lawful act”.
But Justice Taiwo held that the objection by the bank was filed out of misconception and only amounted to a waste of the court’s precious time.“The application of the second defendant was an invitation to this court to sit on appeal on the decision of my learned brother, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of December 14, 2018. This court, with all due respect to the second defendant, shall not fall into that error.
“The application is not only incompetent and an abuse of court process, it is one brought without carefully and painstakingly understanding the ruling my learned brother gave on the interlocutory injunction,” Justice Taiwo held. Consequently, the judge stated that such type of application should be discouraged by the court and that counsel should be discouraged from filing such frivolous application.
“The court must come down hard on counsel who file such applications either on their own or on the instructions of their client. I therefore find no merit in this application and it is accordingly dismissed.“I shall fail in my duty as a Judge if I do not award cost. Therefore, I award N100,000 against the second defendant in favour of the plaintiff” Justice Taiwo stated.
By the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/779/18, Pinnacle Communications is seeking against ICPC, a declaration that the act of the 1st defendant (ICPC) in ordering the 3rd defendant to place a “post-no-debit” restrictions on the plaintiff’s account with the 2nd defendant (the bank) without any court order and or any valid court order is ultra vires, unlawful, injurious, unconstitutional and a breach of the plaintiff’s right to its movable property.
The plaintiff is also seeking a declaration that the act of the 2nd defendant in placing a “post-no-debit” restrictions on the plaintiffs account number 1012875804 with the 3rd defendant without any court order and or any valid order is unlawful, injurious, unconstitutional and a breach of the plaintiff’s right to its movable property.
More so, PCL wants a declaration that the failure of the second defendant to right the wrongful act of the first defendant (ICPC) in ordering a “post no debit” restrictions on the plaintiff’s account with the second defendant without a valid court order is unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional and a breach of the plaintiff’s right to its movable property.
Furthermore, the plaintiff is seeking “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from placing any restrictions on plaintiff’s account with the second defendant without a valid and competent court order.
An order of perpetual injunction restraining the first defendant from placing any form of restrictions on the plaintiff’s account with the second defendant and or any other bank or financial institution in which the plaintiff maintains any account and or dealings, without a court order and or valid and competent court order. “An order for the payment of the N1 billion as general, exemplary and punitive damages against the defendant for their unlawful and illegal act.”