Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday insisted that Wema Bank Plc and seven of its officials cited for contempt must appear before the court.
Last Friday, Justice Aneke had ordered Wema bank Plc and its six officials cited for contempt for disobeying the order of the court to appear before the court on Monday February 17 to explain why they should not be sent to prison for flagrant disobedience to the court’s order.
The affected officials of the bank are the Managing Director, Ademola Adebise, its Chairman, Babatunde Kasali, Deputy Managing Director, Moruf Oseni, Executive Director, Wole Akinleye, Executive Director, Folake Sanu and the Company Secretary Johnson Lebile
But due to failure of the contemnors to appear before the court yesterday, the judge renewed his order, compelling the said officials to appear before the court on Tuesday to explain why committal to prison order should not be made against them.
When the matter was called yesterday, only the company secretary of the bank Johnson Lebile was present.
Lebile told the court that the chairman of the bank, Kasali travelled abroad, why other directors ordered to appear before the court yesterday by the court were not available.
He explained to the court that the bank refused to obey the order of the court to pay the judgement sum because it has filed an appeal against its ruling and also filed stay of execution of the judgement of the court.
The contemnors’ counsel, Mr. Wemimo Ogunde, in his submission over the absence of his clients, suggested to the court that he would advise Wema Bank to pay the judgement sum into the account of the Chief Registrar of the court, since there is an appeal against its judgement and application for stay of execution of the said judgement and other pending application so that the outcome of the appeal would not be made nugatory.
However, the counsel to Heritage Bank Limited , Chief Ajibola Aribisala SAN, in a counter argument told the court that the business of the day was for the parties cited for contempt to appear before the court to explain why they should not be sent to prison for flagrant disobedience of order of the court.
He said despite the order, the contemnors were not in court, nevertheless, he urged the court to issue bench warrant against those officials that were not in court, while the company secretary present in court should be sent to prison to show that the court was not a toothless bulldog.