Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has vacated it’s earlier garnishee nisi order issued against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in respect of a judgment sum of over N24 billion.
The court had thereafter dismissed the suit for want of jurisdiction.
In her her ruling, Justice Evelyn Maha agreed with counsel to CBN, Oyetola Atoyebi (SAN), that her earlier order made, attaching the account of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc in the CBN, was in error.
She held the failure of the plaintiff (judgment creditor) – Bendu Peter Services Nigeria Limited – to disclose that an application for stay of execution of the judgment, it sought to execute, was pending before another court, robbed her court of jurisdiction to hear the garnishee proceedings.
The ruling was on the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/563/2020 between Bendu Peter Services Nigeria Limited and another against GTB.
Bendu Peters Services Nigeria Limited had sued before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), challenging GTB’s actions in freezing, suspending, and refusing to allow cash withdrawal from its account when requested.
In a judgment on March 23, 2020, Justice Danlami Senchi of the High Court of the FCT, held in Bendu Peters’ favour, granted its reliefs and awarded a judgment sum of N24,282,017,249.00 against GTB.
In his quest to execute the judgment, Bendu commenced garnishee proceedings before the Federal High Court, Abuja and sought for the immediate attachment of the sum belonging to GTB in the custody of the CBN, following which Justice Maha granted the garnishee order nisi and directed the CBN to show cause why the order nisi should not be made absolute.
In compliance with the garnishee order nisi, ordering the CBN to appear in court and to disclose by evidence why the order nisi should not be made absolute against it, the apex bank and other parties in the case filed all necessary processes alongside an objection.
They, among others, faulted the decision by the plaintiff to come before the Federal High Court when an application for stay of execution of the March 23, 2020 judgment was pending before the High Court of the FCT.
The CBN and others prayed the court to set aside the entire proceedings and particularly, vacate the order nisi made against the CBN), which prayers were granted in the ruling by Justice Maha on October 13, 2020.