From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, is expected to appear before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja today in respect of a contempt proceedings involving a $70 million judgment debt.
A legal practitioner and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Joe Agi, SAN, had obtained a judgment summons against the CBN Governor following his alleged refusal to comply with the order of court for the payment of the judgment debt.
His appearance before the court is therefore to explain his refusal to obey a valid order for payment of a $70 million debt.
Justice Inyang Ekwo had issued a fresh order October last year following confirmation that Emefiele was yet to pay the judgement debt.
The CBN Governor therefore stands the risk of three months committal to prison over contempt, disobedience to court order for judgement debt.
The Judgment summons which was issued by Justice Inyang Ekwo states, “That on the 16th October, 2018, this Honourable Court made a Gamishee order Nisi Directing the Central Bank of Nigeria to attach the Sum of $70,000,000.00 (Seventy Million US Dollars) in its custody. That on the 16th October, 2018 the Order was Served on the Central Bank Of Nigeria under the leadership of Mr. Godwin Emefiele. Annexed hereto as EXHIBIT A is a copy of the Garnishee Order Nisi with the endorsement as to the date of service.
“That on November 21, 2018, Mr. Godwin Emefiele ignored the Gamishee Order Nisi after becoming aware and paid me $17,000,000.00 (Seventeen Million US Dollars) instead of the $70,000,000.00 (Seventy Million US Dollars). Annexed hereto as EXHIBIT B is the Central Bank of Nigeria internal memorandum signed by Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
That on July 5, 2019, I obtained a Gamnishee Order Absolute in this Court against the Central Bank of Nigeria of which Godwin Emefiele is the Governor and alter ego for the sum of $70,000,000.00 (Seventy Million US Dollars) Which sum is due and payable under the said order but remains partially unsatisfied. The order absolute was served on the 29th July, 2019.
That I aver that till date Godwin Emefiele, being the Governor of the Garnishee, the Central Bank of Nigeria, is liable as the Head of the Central Bank of Nigeria to pay or authorize payment of the sum payable under the said Order Absolute, and I make this averment on the following grounds:
“(a) That the said Godwin Emefiele, under the Central Bank of Nigeria Act is the overall head and alter ego of the Garnishee, the Central Bank of Nigeria.
(b) That Section 7 of the CBN Act provides that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria shall be in charge of the day-today management of the Bank. (c) That Section 10 of the CBN Bye Law entrusts the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria with management of the Bank and control over all the accounts and assets of the Bank.
(d) That in the discharge of his statutory duties as the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele has a duty to obey all orders of Court against the Central Bank of Nigeria, including the Garnishee Order Absolute of 5th July, 2019.
(e) That Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, is aware of the said Garnishee Order Absolute of 5th July, 2019.
(f) That Godwin Emefiele though aware of the Court’s Gaminishee Order Nisi of 16th October, 2018 proceeded to contemptuously disbursed funds meant for payment to me contrary to the Garnishee Order Nisi. “