Debt Judgement: Umahi Disobeys Court Ruling, Continues Harassment Of Abuja Businesswoman

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Gov. Umahi and Dr. Ikeotuonye
  • Governor Refuses To Pay Debt, Unleashes Police On Consultants

An Abuja businesswoman and consultant, Dr. Jackie Ikeotuonye of Andrew Bishopton Nigeria Limited, and partners have decried the flagrant disobedience of court rulings and serial harassment by Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State.

The Federal High Court, Port Harcourt had recently served contempt of court charges to key players in the Ebonyi State Executive Councils for refusal to pay judgment creditors/applicants worth millions of Naira to the creditors.

Ikeotuonye humiliated at Police State in Abakaliki

 

 

Rather than pay up the debts owed the firms of Andrew Bishopton Nigeria Limited and its partner, Mauritz Walton Nigeria Limited based on judgments delivered by Justice Stephen Dalyop Pam of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt and subsequent garnishee proceedings dated July 18, 2022, on Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, aided by their bankers,  UBA and the CBN, as well as the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation have continually disobeyed the court order.

Dr.  Ikeotuonye said that instead of Umahi paying her and the partners the contractual fee owed them, the Ebonyi Governor resorted to threats and harassment by unleashing the police on her and the Staff with a flurry of warrants of arrest. “The police want me to appear on the 28th of November in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.”

Also, in what her lawyers described as the abuse of the court, instead of paying the debt the Ebonyi State government and some local government areas engaged in filing a flurry of court injunctions in State high courts to challenge and quash the Garnishee order.

However, Barrister Henry Nwankwo, legal adviser to Dr. Ikeotuonye said “The order absolute is on the share of Ebonyi State Government allocation from FAAC or from any other attached source of a fund held by a third party on behalf of the Ebonyi State Government from where the judgment can be satisfied. If the Ebonyi State has a Joint Account with the LGAs, then that component of the total that belongs to the Ebonyi State Government stands garnished.

“Except a stay of execution has been granted on the order absolute, the Ebonyi State Government and the garnishee bank are stirring up contempt proceedings against themselves and could be served with Form 48.

“Going to the state High Court to obtain a restraining order is a clear case of abuse of court process and forum shopping and is of no moment. Anyone affected by the order absolute, including LGAs, has the option to Appeal the FHC judgment and not go on a fruitless forum shopping,” he said.

It will be recalled that Ebonyi State Government contracted ANDREW BISHOPTON NIG LIMITED in 2016 to pursue and recover monies illegally deducted from both its foreign and local loans and facilities, especially the Paris Club Refund.

The firm, it was gathered, approached the Court following the state government’s alleged reluctance to keep to the agreed contract terms, a development that led to the illegal arrest and detention of Dr. Jackie Ikeotuonye, by the Ebonyi State Police Command at the prompting of Governor Umahi.

The Court, presided over by Justice S. Dalyop Pam, in its Order Absolute, ruled that one of the Applicants or Judgment Creditors, ANDREW BISHOPTON NIG LIMITED was treated unfairly by the Ebonyi State government.

Earlier in September 2022, Justice Stephen Daylop Pam of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt had ordered the freezing of the accounts of the Ebonyi State Government and its monthly allocations. The suit is marked No. FHC/PH/CS/35/2022.

The monies the court ordered freezed include $29,854,856.9, N30,100,000,000, and another N15 million, and a certified true copy of the Order Nissi, which was signed by the Registrar, O.P. Clovis Okereke on July 21, 2022, validates the authenticity of the process.

The plaintiffs in the matter also indicated as judgment creditors, Andrew Bishopton Ltd and Mauritz Walton Nigeria Ltd had filed the Garnishee process before the court against the Ebonyi State Government as the judgment debtor, the Attorney General, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as the first Garnishee party and the United Bank as the second Garnishee.

The process is actually the enforcement of an existing judgment of a court in favour of the two companies, the reason the parties suing are indicated as judgment creditors, and the Ebonyi government as a judgment debtor.

The garnishee parties are the custodians of the monies ordered freezed or attached and include $29,854,856.9 domiciled with the CBN, another N30,100,000,000 and yet another N15 million from also the UBA through which the government receives its monthly allocations.

The application for the order was filed as an ex parte process. The judge of the court granted the judgment creditors their requests for the attachment or freezing of the listed accounts with the two banks and also ordered the banks to file the required documents as proof that the banks have sufficient funds to offset the debts against Ebonyi State.

The court granted the five orders sought by the two companies freezing the monies in the Ebonyi account and transferring them to the account of the two companies domiciled with the Wema Bank, account number 0122765584 from that of the state government UBA account number 1001158077 as a means of liquidating an existing judgment sum owed the applicants by the state.

The court also granted the CBN and UBA 14 days window to file any papers before it, if there is any need, on why the order would not be executed immediately since there were not in court during the hearing of the application filed by the two companies.

Reacting in a statement made available to the media, Orji Uchenna Orji, a lawyer and Commissioner for Information and State Orientation said the attention of Ebonyi State Government has been drawn to a trending publication credited to one firm known as and called Andrew Bishopton Nig. Limited and its partners, Mauritz Walton Nig Ltd claim that they got an order from the Court to garnish the accounts of the Ebonyi State Government.

He urged the general public to discountenance the claims thereof as shenanigans of unscrupulous elements that are on a forum shopping over a clearly and notoriously baseless allegation of performing consultancy services for the Government of Ebonyi.

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