Banking & Finance Politics

CBN Governor to pay Interstella Communications $285m judgment sum

CTG: CBN approves N19.1bn to fund 9 ginneries
Written by Maritime First

…And Collect N5,000 from Whistleblowers***

A communications firm, Interstella Communications Ltd., has told the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to obey a Supreme Court order by paying them $285 million judgment sum for alleged breach of contract. 

Justice Okon Abang of the Abuja Federal High Court on Monday in Abuja also, ordered one Mr. George Uboh , Chairman Whistleblowers Network (GUWN) to compensate the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele and three others, N5,000 each, for a delay, in filing a case before it.

The Supreme Court of Nigeria had in a judgment delivered on December 15, 2017 in Appeal No. SC 500/2014 ordered that $285 million be paid to Insterstella Communications Ltd. and Mr Obi Thompson.

CBN Governor to pay Interstella Communications $285m judgment sum
Inspector General of Police (I-G), Mr Mohammed Adamu

Addressing newsmen on Monday, Mr Tony Nnadi, the coordinating counsel for the judgment creditors (Interstella Communications and Thompson) said that several efforts had been made to ensure that CBN complied with the judgment of the apex court but to no avail.

“The judgment creditors find it inconceivable that a straightforward matter such as a breach of commercial contract agreement has gone through the full gamut of legal adjudication in Nigeria.

“It has gone all the way to the apex court of Nigeria because they have allowed it to degenerate to this kind of controversy.

“This could aggravate existing concerns in the international community over the integrity of our national institutions and the operation of the rule of law in Nigeria,” Nnadi said.

He said that the CBN had refused to respond to three letters of demand written to Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the CBN.

According to Nnadi, as a result, the judgment creditors will take an alternate action to receive the judgment sum from the apex bank.

“The judgment creditors are deliberately being forced to take inevitable measures offshore, to compel the Federal Government and the CBN to obey the orders of their own sovereign supreme court,” he stated.

According to court documents made available to NAN, the judgment creditors had sued the Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd. (NITEL) at the Federal High Court Umuahia in Abia in suit No. FHC/UM/CS/04.

The suit was instituted for alleged breach of the terms of a telecommunications contract and damages and judgment was delivered in favour of the judgment creditors on Nov. 6, 2007.

In October 2008, the judgment debt stood at N23 billion and $48 million and an inter-ministerial committee was set up by the Federal Government for amicable settlement of the judgment debt.

As a result, Interstella Ltd. and Thompson (judgment creditors) accepted N12 billion as full and final settlement of the judgment debt.

With the consent of the Federal Government (FG) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the sum N12 billion was entered as consent judgment in court.

The judgment creditors alleged that the FG and AGF reneged on the agreement by paying less than 30 per cent of the judgment sum.

Due to the alleged failure of the FG to pay the full judgment sum, Interstella Communications Ltd. and Thompson launched garnishee proceedings against the FG and AGF, which was made absolute by the High Court.

The CBN, which was to pay the judgment sum, however, appealed the High Court judgment at the Court of Appeal.

But the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, upholding the judgment of the trial court. 

Meanwhile, Justice Okon Abang of the Abuja Federal High Court on Monday in Abuja ordered one Mr George Uboh , Chairman Whistleblowers Network (GUWN) to compensate four respondents with N5,000 each for delay in filing a case before it.

The respondents are; Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr Anthony Michael, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),Dr. Godwin Emefiele and Mr Ned Nwoko.

In an affidavit deposed to by One Dodo Silas, the applicant had alleged that through some credible whistle blowers within the CBN and beyond he was informed of how the 3rd respondent in collusion with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) oversaw and approved of the pilfering and diversion of state funds worth 2,564,000,000 U.S. dollars.

He stated that the applicant wrote a letter to the 3rd respondent, requesting the remittance of over 2.5 billion federal government funds, missing under his watch to the government TSA.

Justice Abang however, ordered that the compensation be paid to the respondents before Nov. 20, which is the adjourned date.

Counsel to the applicant, Mr Eteowo Ekaette argued that the motion and application filed to the court was to be adopted today (Monday) but because the applicant had been in Kuje prisons, he couldn’t access him to re-answer some of the processes and depose to them.

“This is due to some of the new rules of the court now that they have to see you personally before they accept some of those processes.

“Due to his absence we could not have him appear in court till today when we filed the application since he was just released few days ago at which we had him to come over to depose to those applications.

“All applications would be taken on the adjourned date and all substantives would also be adopted,” he said.

“The 3rd respondent instead of responding cogently to the letter after being served, he wrote a petition to the 1st and 2nd respondents dated May 14, falsely and maliciously alleging that the applicant had defamed his character in writing.

“Apart from the petition aforesaid, the 3rd respondent also offered to testify against the applicant as a witness for the prosecution in this regard,” he said.

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