Court Discharges 22 Banks in Garnishee Proceedings against NNPC, PPMC over N4.7bn Judgement Debt

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Glonik Industries Limited and Glonik Hotels Limited filed a garnishee proceeding against the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) and its sister company, Pipeline and Products Marketing Ltd (PPMC), for a judgment debt of N4, 705,139,686.78. A Federal High Court in Lagos released 22 banks from the action.The court presided over by Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa ordered NNPC and PPMC to pay N4, 705,139,686.78 for the demolition of the hotel building located at number 33, Wamom Taofeek Street, New Okoba, Lagos that belonged to the Plaintiffs in a judgment issued on May 16, 2023 in suit number FHC/L/CS/794/2020 filed by Glonik Industries limited and Glonik Hotels limited.

After the verdict, Justice Lewis-Allagoa also filed a garnishee action, attached the judgment amount to 23 banks, and ordered them to give justification as to why the amounts to the judgment debtor’s credit in its different accounts shouldn’t also be attached to meet the judgement debt.In order to comply with a judgment obtained against the debtors for payment of N4,705,139,686.78, the court ordered that all debts due or sums accruing from the Garishness be attached.

The court also issued an order directing the garnishees to pay any debts or other amounts of money owed to the judgment creditors by the garnishees in fulfillment of the judgment amount. The monies in the garnishees’ possession standing to the credit of the judgment debtors were ordered to be attached.

Justice Allagoa also directed the named garnishees to appear in court to show to show cause as to why they should not pay to the judgment creditors the judgment sum from the monetary sums due from the garnishees to the judgment debtors, in satisfaction of the judgment debt.

But, when the matter came up, counsel to the judgement debtor, Mr. Wale Akoni, in an application urged the court to vary the garnishee order, and limit was to the 6th garnishee (Fist Bank of Nigeria Limited), submitting that the funds in the bank was enough to satisfy the judgement sum.Consequently, he urged the court to discharge other 22 garnishees to enable the defendants carry out their businesses

Justice Allagoa in a Bench ruling granted the request and discharged other garnishees with the exception of the 6th garnishee.The plaintiffs, (Glonik Industries limited and Glonik Hotels limited) had in their statement of claim stated that sometime in 2017, the defendants invaded the 1st plaintiff’s property which the 2nd plaintiff used for its hotel/hospitality business on the pretext that NNPC (1st Defendant) pipeline was being vandalized from the property, arrested some members of the staff of the 2d plaintiff alongside the chairman, sealed the property and stationed their task force at the property denying the plaintiff access to the property.

The plaintiffs added that the entire building was then demolished by the defendant, adding that the demolition was done without an order of court.Specifically, the 1st Plaintiff stated that it obtained building approval from the Lagos State government before the building was erected on the land.Consequently, the plaintiffs sought for “a declaration that the sealing, demolishing of their building situate at 33, Wamom Taofeek Street, by Social Club Road, New Okoba, Lagos and carting away of all items was illegal.

“The sum of N840,879,686.75 being the fair and estimated value to replace the hotel building situate at 33, Wamon Taofeek Street by Social Club, New Okoba, Lagos belonging to the 15 plaintiff destroyed by the Defendant.“The sum of N3,863, 160,000 being the loss suffered as a result of the breach of contract between the 2nd Plaintiff and Ignite Energy Limited induced by the defendants as a result of the sealing and destruction of the plaintiffs’ hotel.

“The sum of N1, 000,000,000 as general damages, and additional N1, 000,000,000 as exemplary damages for defendants wrongly conduct.”However, the defendants in their statement of defence/counter claim dated 13th of October, 2022 prayed the court for a declaration that the activities of the Plaintiffs of the Defendants’ Pipeline Right of Way at Atlas Cover-Mosimi are illegal and unlawful.

Therefore, the defendant prayed the court for, “an order for the sum of N500, 000,000,000 only to be paid to the defendants jointly and severally by the plaintiffs as general damages due to the Plaintiffs act of economic sabotage to the defendants’ facilities.”

However, Justice Allagoa in his judgement held, “in all the Plaintiffs have proved their case on the preponderance of evidence but the defendants have failed to prove their counter claim. Reliefs A, B, C is hereby granted as prayed. Relief E is granted in the sum of N1, 000,000 (one million naira)”