Court Insists on CBN Gov’s Appearance Over $53m – Gives Deadline

Osbert Tor-najime

A federal High Court holden at Abuja has again given the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, February 26, 2020, to appear before it.

The order is meant for Emefiele to explain why he was yet to comply with a garnishee order mandating the apex bank to pay the sum of $53 million to Mr. Joe Agi, SAN and a team of lawyers who facilitated the processes that led to the payment of the Paris Club Refund to Nigeria.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, had on November 20, 2019, under form 15, issued the judgment summons to Emefiele in a case instituted against CBN as Garnishee/Respondent, Linas International Limited and the Minister of Finance as Judgment Debtors Garnishees by Mr Joe Agi as Judgment Creditor/Applicant and on behalf of a team of benefiting lawyers.

The summon stated that, “the plaintiff/judgment creditor obtained Garnishee Order Absolute against the Central Bank of Nigeria in this matter on the 5th day of July 2019, for the sum of $70,000,000.00 (Seventy Million US Dollars) and the same sum remains partially unsatisfied till date to the tune of $53 million”

Meanwhile, the documents made available to some newsmen in Calabar at the weekend by sources close in the court indicated that when the matter came up for hearing on January 23, the CBN chief was not in court and upon hearing from Mr J. C. Njikonye, counsel to Agi, that Emefiele the garnishee respondent was served the judgement summon but was not in court and not represented, Justice Ekwo made a fresh order.

“An order is hereby made adjourning this case to enable Mr Emefiele appear in court as stated on the summons and to answer to the issue thereto on the next date of hearing,” Justice Ekwo said and adjourned the case to February 26, 2020.

Central Bank of Nigeria

The court also agreed that either party which desires to postpone the hearing must apply to the court as soon as possible for that purpose and that if the application is based on any matter of fact, such party must be prepared to give proof of those decisions.

“The parties are warned that at the hearing, they are required to bring forward all the evidence by witnesses or by documents which each of them desires to rely on in support of his own case and in contradiction of that of his opponent. The proof will be required at the hearing, and not on a subsequent day, and parties failing to bring their evidence forward at the proper time may find themselves absolutely precluded from adopting it at all, or at best only allowed to do so on payment of substantial costs to the other side, and on such other terms as the court thinks fit to impose”.

Justice Ekwo further held that, “parties desirous to enforce the attendance of witnesses should apply at once to the Court to issue one or more summons for the attendance of the witnesses required. It is indispensable that the application should be made so as to allow time for reasonable notice to the witnesses required. If the witness is required to bring books or papers, they must be particularised in the summons sufficiently to enable him understand what is meant.

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