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Pinnacle asks court to dismiss ICPC objection

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja
24 December 2019   |   4:24 am
Pinnacle Communications Ltd (PCL) has asked the Federal High Court, Abuja; to dismiss a preliminary objection filed by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC)...

Pinnacle Communications Ltd (PCL) has asked the Federal High Court, Abuja; to dismiss a preliminary objection filed by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), challenging a suited by instituted against the anti-graft agency and Zenith bank PLC.

PCL had in July 2018, dragged ICPC and Zenith bank to court for unlawfully withholding its money domiciled in Zenith bank without a valid court order. The company is asking for N1billion damage against the defendants. But before Justice Taiwo Taiwo fixed January 31, 2020 for ruling on the application, counsel to ICPC, Nneka Chukwuma-okere, urged the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s suit for being academical, having been resolved in a ruling delivered by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba on December 14, 2018.

However, counsel to the plaintiff, Ama Etuwewe (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the objection of ICPC, because PCL claim “is declaratory in nature” and that “declaratory reliefs cannot be granted without evidence proffered by the plaintiff in the witness box.”Etuwewe stated that the court has jurisdiction to entertain the suit as there are substantial issues to be tried.He held that “there is no provision in the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act (2000) empowering ICPC to exercise judicial powers.

According to him, it will be in the interest of justice to refuse the ICPC application. Also, a motion by the second defendant (Zenith Bank), urging dismissal of the suit was opposed by the plaintiff.The bank through its counsel, Okey Ojukwu, had in his preliminary objection, claimed that the action it took by withholding the account of PCL was a “lawful act.”

By the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/779/18, Pinnacle Communications is seeking a declaration that the act of the first defendant in ordering the second defendant to place a “post-no-debit” restrictions on the plaintiff’s account with the second defendant 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 second defendant in placing a “post-no-debit” restriction on the plaintiffs account 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.

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 as well as an order for the payment of the N1billion naira as general, exemplary and punitive damages against the defendants for their unlawful and illegal act.