Contempt: Diamond bank, Shell directors in trouble

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A Federal high court sitting in Lagos south west Nigeria has granted Unity bank PLC judicial authority to commence, issue and serve committal proceedings (FORM 48)against, Directors of Diamond bank Plc and Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC).for intentional disobedience of the order of the court.

The affected Directors are: Chairman,Board of directors of Diamond bank Mr Chris Ogbeche, Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer, Diamond bank Mr Uzoma Dozie, Deputy Managing Director, Diamond bank, Caroline Anyanwu.

Managing Director, Nigeria Shell Petroleum development company, SPDC Mr Osagie Ogunbor, Vice -president SPDC, Mr. Peter Costello, and Director SPDC Simbi wabote.

Persons to be cited named above are in charge of the day to day administration and management of the two organisations,as it relates to compliance with the order of the court made on 2nd December, 2016,which was duly serve on them.

The order of the court authorizing Unity bank Plc to serve committal proceedings against the Directors of Diamond bank Plc and Shell Petroleum development company was sequel to an affidavit sworn to by a legal practitioner Mr. Segun Awodein and filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer, Barrister Oluwafemi Atoyebi SAN.

Mr Awodein averred that on the 2nd of December, 2016,upon application made on behalf of Unity bank Plc, the court granted an order restraining a limited liability company Kaztec Engineering Limited and its Directors, namely Sir Emeka Offor, Kester Enwerrome, Tochukwu Odukwe and Nonito Barraquias from withdrawing or dealing in any form all or any part of $8,450,000 standing to the credit of Kaztec company’s bank domiciled with the banks listed before the court pending the hearing and final determination of the debt recovery suit pending before the court.

The court also made an order directing Diamond bank to prepare and file on oath, within 7days from the day the order of the court was served on them, an affidavit disclosing the company’s balance in it’s account, the certified true copy of the order was served on them on 5th of December, 2016,but Diamond bank have refused to comply with the said order of the court.,
Following the refusal to comply with the order of the court,a letter was prepared and served on the said individuals, reminding them of their duty to obey the order of the court, but they simply treated the letter with levity.

Mr. Awodein averred further that Diamond bank has flaunted
the order of the court under the directive of the cited persons who have refused to ensure total compliance with the said order.

Diamond bank being a body established by law and managed by its management can only be punished for contempt through the said management instrumental to the disobedience,therefore it would be in the interest of Justice to direct the service of FORM 48 which is notice of consequences of disobedience to order of court on the cited persons in view of the various positions they occupy in Diamond bank. Other banks have since filed statements as order by the court.

In a similar affidavit, Mr Awodein averred that on the 2nd of December, 2016 the court made an order of interim attachment of all payments due from Shell Petroleum development Company of SPDC Nigeria to Kaztec Engineering Limited in respect of contract for the Trans -Niger Pipeline project from Oghale to PT1,pending the provision of satisfactory and sufficient security for Unity bank’s claim in the sum of N6,074,499,879.15 and $133,057,708.96.

A copy of the order was served on the company on 5th December 2016,but they have refused to comply with the order of the court by preparing and filing an affidavit on oath, disclosing the Kaztec ‘s balance in its account or any balance standing to the credit of the company, but the order of the court was treated with disdain as SPDC must have paid out the attached funds to Kaztec company.

Consequently, the bank urged the court to grant it judicial authorization to serve form 48 which is a notice of consequences of disobedience to court order on the cited persons responsible for the day to day running of the Shell petroleum development company of Nigeria.

The court while acceding to the request of Unity bank has adjourned for the report of services of notice of consequences of disobedience to court order (Form 48).on the cited individuals .

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