Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

Okorocha vs. Ohakim: Confusion in Owerri as court seals 4 banks

Normal banking businesses were Wednesday grounded to a halt in four banks following an order of a High Court to execute a garnishee order of February 23, 2018, mandating them to pay former Governor Ikedi Ohakim his entitlements as former governor of Imo State.
Business Hilights South East Bureau chief who visited the financial institutions reports that a red tape was used to seal the affected banks which included Diamond on Item Street, First Bank PLC on Bank Road, United Bank for Africa on Mbari Street and Union Bank on Bank Road.
Marathon court action had started since 2016, when Chief Ohakim, having exhausted all diplomatic windows to press incumbent Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha to pay him entitlements as former governor of the state.
A court of competent jurisdiction had on May 24, 2016, delivered judgment in favour of Ohakim, but Okorocha allegedly refused to honour the court.
After waiting in vain for a while, Chief Ohakim went for the second time in the court to enforce the judgment against the state governor by asking the court to issue an order for banks where Imo State Government accounts are domiciled to pay him.
Accordingly, the court granted the request through a garnishee order on February 23, 2018, but the banks failed to pay the plaintiff possibly on the orders of the governor.
For the third time, the never-say die former governor went back to the court to get an order for the sealing off of the affected banks until the entitlements are paid.
Pasted photocopies of a court judgment on display at one of the banks on Mbari Street made it clear that the judgment mandated the affected banks to pay the plaintiff his claims from Imo State Government accounts domiciled with the banks, which they had so far refused to do.
The judgment was dated February 23, 2018.
The judgment read in parts: “Order absolute is made against the fifth garnishee (Skye Bank) to the tune of N112,000,000.00 (N112m).”
“Order absolute to the tune of forty-four million, seven hundred and ninety thousand, eight hundred and thirty-one Naira, thirty-four kobo (N44,790,831.34), is made against the sixth garnishee (UBA), less the minimum amount required to maintain the account.”
“Order absolute is made against the seventh garnishee (Union Bank ) to the total N8,824,240.72, less the minimum amount required to maintain the account.”
“The fourth garnishee is accordingly discharged.”
“In all, the degree absolute has been made on a cumulative total of N290,068,717.57. The total sum is to be paid over to this court vide the Chief Registrar, National Industrial Court of Nigeria within 14 days next.”
Banks’ customers who spoke angrily to our Bureau Chief expressed official rascality on the part of the current administration in Imo State, stressing that the ego warfare between the two politicians is now frustrating the business and lives of ordinary citizens who should be going about their normal business including access to banking services without disturbances like sealing up the banks.