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Court freezes Osun State Government accounts

Few days to Christmas, Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo has summoned all banks where accounts of Osun State Government are domiciled to appear before it next Monday with financial statements, regarding the payment of a compensation worth N170 million awarded against the government.

A plaintiff, identified as Rolland Seun Alli had dragged Osun State governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, Attorney General of the state; the Commissioner for Works and Transport and SAMMYA Nigeria Limited to the court following the demolition of his building in Osogbo.

But, the Osun Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the state, Dr Ajibola Basiru had argued that the court ought not to have granted the garnishee order, saying an appeal for a stay of execution on the judgement had been filed before a Federal Court of Appeal, sitting in Akure, Ondo State.

However, the court presided over by Justice A.O Ayoola had ruled in favour of the applicant and asked the state government to pay the amount to the plaintiff.

The judgment, which was delivered in June 2017, but the state government did not pay the compensation nor appealed the verdict of the court.

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As result of the development, the judgment creditor approached the court again and filed a motion ex-parte for an order, compelling the banks where Osun State government have its accounts to pay the money.

Subseqeuntly, the judge granted the order sought for by the plaintiff and asked the 10 banks where Osun State Government’s accounts are domiciled to appear before it.

According to a certified true copy of the garnishee order issued on November 27 by Justice Ayoola, the judge ordered Skye Bank Plc; First Bank Plc; Omoluabi Savings and Loans Limited; Wema Bank Plc; Guarantee Trust Bank Plc; Fidelity Bank Plc; Unity Bank Plc; and Access Bank Plc to appear before it.

While some of the banks have appeared before the court and others are billed to appear before it on December 18, 2017 when the court is expected to compel them to pay the plaintiff the judgment sum of N170, 965, 840.

Speaking during a chat on the phone with Saturday Tribune, on Friday, Osun Commissioner for Justice, Dr Basiru stated that “the truth of the matter is that the contention of the state government is that the order garnishee was irregularly granted. The state government had filed a stay of execution of the judgment before the court and the court did not give a date for the hearing on the stay of execution.”

He further averred that “the government wrote a letter, reminding the judge that we have an application for stay of execution. The same court that has not fixed date for a stay of execution cannot go ahead to implement the judgment. The court has no jurisdiction to even begin to entertain the matter for which stay of execution has been filed. It is fundamentally irregular for you to implement a judgment for which there is an application for stay of execution”.

“In any event, an appeal had been filed at the Federal Court of Appeal in Akure. The only thing the court can do is to adjourn the application for garnishee order sine die, pending the determination of the appeal filed at Akure,” Basiru remarked.
Sources:Nigerian Tribune

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