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Judge invites CBN gov for disregarding garnishee order

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The National Industrial Court, Lagos Division, has ordered the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Olayemi Cardoso, to appear before it on 18 July 2024, to explain why he should not be committed to prison for disobeying a court order issued on 25 March 2019.

Justice (Prof) Elizabeth Oji issued the order in response to an application filed by Mrs Kehinde Dunmoye against the CBN for failing to comply with a garnishee order absolute made by Justice O.A. Osaghae on 25 March 2019, in suit No: NICN/LA/10/M/2017.

This order by Justice Osaghae required the CBN to pay N113,187,123 to the judgment creditor, along with N50,000 in costs.

The other judgment debtors in the suit are United Bank for Africa Plc and Africa Prudential Registrars Plc.

The case originated in 2012 when the applicant filed a general complaint on 19 March.

After a hearing on the merits, Justice Agbadu-Fishim delivered a judgment on 10 May 2013, which the judgment debtor appealed. The Court of Appeal upheld the NICN judgment on 28 April 2017.

The applicant sought a garnishee order to enforce the judgment, leading to an order nisi on 26 November 2018, directing the CBN to garnish the judgment debtor’s account. Both the judgment debtor and the CBN challenged the order nisi, but on 25 March 2019, the court dismissed their objections and made the order absolute.

Justice Obaseki made the garnishee order absolute after the court had considered the preliminary objections filed by the CBN and the judgment debtors, saying the respondent and the judgment debtors were aware of the garnishee order absolute made against the CBN.

Despite the dismissal of the appeal against the garnishee order absolute of the NICN and the applicant’s demand that the respondent comply with the order of 25 March 2019, which was affirmed by the judgment of the Court of Appeal, the CBN failed to comply with the garnishee order absolute.

In her ruling, Justice Oji held that “I agree that there has been contempt of court, by the respondent. This application has merit and, therefore, succeeds.

“I agree that forms 48 and 49 should be issued and served on the respondent as suggested by the respondent

“I hold that the respondent, the Central Bank of Nigeria, is in contempt of the orders of this court. Its governor, Mr Olayemi Cardoso, is bound to be committed to prison, for the failure and persistent refusal of the CBN to obey the garnishee order absolute, delivered and made on 25 March 2019.

“The respondent is ordered to appear before this court on 18 July 2024, to show cause why it should not be committed to prison through its governor Mr Olayemi Cardoso, for the respondent’s act of disobedience to the order of this court.

“The service of this ruling, the order absolute of 25 March 2019, and forms 48 and 49 are to be served on the respondent”.

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