The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria Mr. Godwin I. Emefiele risks being committed to prison for failing to honour a Garnishee Order Absolute to pay the balance of $53 million due and payable under the said Garnishee Order Absolute to Mr. Joe Agi (SAN) and other team of lawyers that facilitated the Paris Club fund refund matter for the federal government.
Justice I. E. Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja had on November 20, 2019 under form 15 issued the judgment summons to Emefiele in a case instituted against Central Bank Of Nigeria as Garnishee/Respondent, Linas International Limited and the Hon. Minister Of Finance as Judgment Debtors Garnishees by Mr. Joe Agi Judgement as Creditor/Applicant on behalf of a team of benefiting lawyers.
This order is coming barely 24 hours after an Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Jude Okeke sentenced the Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Olusegun Runsewe, to prison in a ruling on a motion drawn from a suit filed by Ummakalif Limited against Minister of the FCT, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), DG of NCAC, and the Minister for Culture and Tourism, as the first, second, third and fourth defendants respectively.
This judgement summon which was issued by Justice Ekwo and made available to some news men in Calabar yesterday by sources close to the court said “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.
“The Judgment Creditor has filed an affidavit in this Court, a copy whereof in hereunto annexed, wherein it is alleged that you the above-named Godwin Emefiele are liable [as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Garnishee] to pay the sum payable under the said Garnishee Order Absolute”.
The Judge said, “you are therefore hereby summoned to appear personally in this Court, at the Federal High Court No. 5, Maitama, Abuja, FCT; on the 23rd day of January 2020 or a subsequent date of which you would be given notice at the hour of 9 O’ clock in the forenoon, to be examined on oath touching the means you have or have had since the date of the said Garnishee Order Absolute to pay the balance of $53,000,000.00 (Fifty Three Million US Dollars) now due and payable under the said Garnishee Order Absolute and also to show cause why you should not be committed to prison for default of the said sum.
“Take notice that if you deny that you are liable [as Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria] to pay or direct payment of the sum payable under the said Garnishee Order Absolute you must appear at this Court on the day and at the hour above-mentioned. And that in default of your so appearing, you will be deemed to admit you are liable to pay the amount due and payable under the said Garnishee Order Absolute”.
This order was based on the Motion Ex Parte dated and filed the 8th day of November, 2019 by Mr. J. C. Njikonye, SAN, with Messrs Ejike Orji and I. A. Nnana, Counsels for the Judgment Creditor/Applicant seeking an order for substituted service of the Judgment Summons on Mr. Godwin I. Emefiele (Governor Central Bank of Nigeria) by publishing the summons in some national dailies and for any further order(s) as the court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.
Upon reading the affidavit in support of the motion Ex Parte proposed to by Joe Agi, SAN, and Justice Ekwo also made an order for substituted service of the judgment summons on Mr. Godwin I. Emefiele (Governor Central Bank of Nigeria) by publishing the summons in some national dailies within 21days of the order as the case was adjourned to January 23, 2020 for mention.
It will be recalled that there is a judgement on Paris club fund which the federal government approved the payment of money and the court ordered that they should pay 20 percent of the fee to be paid to a team of lawyers led by Agi but the CBN governor ignored the order and paid less to all the lawyers out of the total sum of $70 million and the court now is saying the CBN Governor should pay the balance of $53 million or be committed to prison.