A Federal High Court, Abuja has vacated the ex-parte order it issued in favour of Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) and its receiver manager against Peace Global Satellite Communication Limited (PGSCL) over a disputed loan.
Trial judge, Anwuri Chikere in a judgment delivered November 24, 2020, held that the order was given out of jurisdiction and that AMCON and its counsel suppressed facts of the matter.
The decision followed a motion on notice filed by three defendants/applicants; Oreye Udo Livingstone, Cecelia Oreye and Uyo Justina dated July 29 and argued by their counsel, Jude Irabor, who prayed the court to discharge the ex-parte order made on March 9, 2020 on various grounds.
AMCON had obtained the order, granting judicial protection and leave to Bar. Benson Ibezim, its receiver manager to take over immediate possession of the properties belonging to the PGSCL and other properties belonging to the defendants/applicants.
The court had also directed the Inspector General of Police and other officers under his command as well as court bailiffs to assist Ibezim discharge of his duties as receiver of all the properties of the company, including the one lying and situate at Plot 171 in Block VI, Omole residential scheme, Ikeja.
The court also directed Wema Bank to furnish the receiver within 48 hours of the service of the order details of any sum outstanding to the credit of the 2nd claimant/respondent (PGSCL) in that application as well as the freezing of its accounts.
Dissatisfied with the order, the defendants/applicants filed the motion, accompanied with a 30 paragraph affidavit and a further affidavit of 51 paragraphs, praying the court to discharge the orders on the ground that there is a pending suit in the Supreme Court, which borders on the liability of the applicants to Wema bank, which “loan AMCON purportedly purchased.”
The applicants argued: “AMCON is a party in the suit pending at the Supreme Court and was served with the Notice of Appeal on February 14, 2020.
“That AMCON lied on oath when it stated that there was no pending case in any court in Nigeria on the subject matter of the loan.”
They insisted that the order was obtained by fraud, adding that it was an abuse of court process, having been filed away from Lagos where the cause of action arose and where the defendants reside, which robs the court of jurisdiction.
In her decision, Justice Chikere agreed with the defendants/applicants’ argument. She frowned that although there was no pending suit as at the time of filing the ex-parte motion February 13, 2020, counsel for the claimant as a minister in the temple of justice knew and suppressed the fact that there was a notice of appeal at the Supreme Court filed and served on him February 14, 2020 bordering on the same subject matter, when he moved the motion for ex-parte on March 9, 2020.
Consequently, she declared: “It is trite law that the court has the inherent jurisdiction to set aside its order where same is made upon suppression of facts and without jurisdiction.
“Accordingly, the order ex-parte made on March 9, 2020, is hereby vacated, discharged and set aside in its entirety as same was given without jurisdiction and upon suppression of facts. No order as to cost. I so hold.”
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