N280m consent judgement: Judge dragged before NJC

By Abdulwahab Abdulah
Justice Sunday OIadokun Ishola of a Lagos High Court, Igbosere has been dragged before the National Judicial Council (NJC) over allegation that he issued a writ of attachment to levy execution on a purported consent judgment in spite of pending issues before the court.

In the petition filed by Oceanic Bank Plc through its counsel, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN to the NJC, the bank is asking the body to take a critical look at the manner the presiding Judge allegedly granted N280 million consent judgment against it.

In the petition dated August 24, 2010, signed by Chief Ayorinde, SAN, it prayed the Council to investigate the alleged conduct of the court and take appropriate action to preserve and uphold the integrity of the judicial system.

The bank’s petition partly read, “Why would a judge issued a writ of attachment during vacation when he is not the vacation judge? This is more curious when his lordship had said in the open court that he is no longer handling the matter and that the matter would be transfer to his former court which is now being presided over by Justice Akapo.

“We therefore deem it necessary to bring a formal complaint on the way at which this suit was conducted by the honorable judge and more importantly, the way and manner at which the writ of attachment was obtained and eventually executed in the face of a pending application to stay execution”. The petition added.

Copy of the petition was sent to the state Chief Judge, Justice Inumidun Akande, who doubles as the Chairman, Lagos state Judicial Service Commission.

The bank noted with shock and dismay the way and manner the whole proceeding was conducted from the first day the matter came up in his lordship’s court to the time he(Judge) allegedly signed the Writ of Attachment upon which execution was leveled against it.

According to the petitioner, Convalent Oil and Gas Limited , the claimant in the suit had sued Messrs Felshad International Limited and Oceanic bank, plc before a High Court presided over by Justice Ishola by way of summary judgment procedure.

The bank noted that the matter commenced on September 3, 2009 and on September 10 of the same year, Justice Ishola granted a Mareva Order (freezing order) via an ex_parte application filed by the claimant, Convalent Oil and Gas Limited.

But the petitioner maintained that as a matter of rules and practices of the High Court of Lagos state (Civil Procedure) Rules 2004, the bank is entitled to 42 clear days to file its defence to the papers filed by the claimant.

The bank stated that on September 29, 2009, the bank’s lawyer, Chief Ayorinde, SAN entered a conditional appearance but later that same day; the bank received a Notice of Discontinuance dated September 28, seeking to discontinue the suit against the bank.

The bank further alleged that upon a search conducted on September 30, 2009 on the court’s file, it was discovered that the claimant and the first defendant, Messrs Felshad International limited, had filed an interlocutory Terms of settlement which was entered into as consent judgment of the court without hearing from the bank.

The bank added that it filed necessary processes to highlight its position but the court refused to join it in the matter and also refused to set aside the interlocutory terms of settlement.

The petitioner informed NJC that despite its application dated December, 2009 asking for stay of execution of the consent judgment pending before the court, Justice Ishola allegedly issued a writ of attachment to levy execution on the purported consent judgment.
The bank contended that the consent judgment entered into by the first defendant was fraudulent as the 1st defendant owed it (bank) over N4 billion hence not entitled to entered into any settlement with funds in its account with the bank, a step presumed will jeopardizes the interest of the bank.

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