N1bn suit: Pinnacle asks court to dismiss ICPC objection

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Pinnacle Communications Ltd (PCL) has asked the Federal High Court Abuja to dismiss a preliminary objection filed by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), challenging a suit it instituted against the anti graft agency and Zenith bank PLC.

PCL had in July 2018, dragged ICPC and Zenith bank to court for unlawfully withholding its money domicile in the bank without a valid court order, and consequently, is claiming N1billion against the agency as damages.

At a resumed hearing on Wednesday, following the adoption of ICPC’s preliminary objection by its counsel, the trial judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo fixed January 31, 2020 for ruling.

In adopting the preliminary objection of ICPC, Nneka Chukwuma-okere, urged the court to dismiss the plaintif’s suit for being academical, having been resolved in a ruling delivered by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, on December 14, 2018.

However, in opposition to the preliminary objection, counsel to the plaintiff, Ama Etuwewe SAN urged the court to dismiss the objection of ICPC, because PCL claim “is declaratory in nature” and that as fact “that declaratory reliefs cannot be granted without evidence proffered by the plaintiff In the witness box”.

Etuwewe stated that the Court has jurisdiction to entertain the suit as there are substantial issues to be tried.

The plaintiff stated that “there is no provision in the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 that empowers the ICPC to exercise judicial powers and also the administrative act of the 1st Defendant/Applicant in ordering the 2nd Defendant to freeze Plaintiff’s account with the 2nd Defendant is ultra vires the 1st Defendant and is therefore illegal, unlawful and oppresive”.

He said it will be in the interest of justice to refuse the ICPC application.

Also, a motion by the 2nd defendant urging dismissal of the suit was opposes by the plaintiff.

Zenith bank through its counsel, Emeka Ojukwu had in his preliminary objection claimed that the action it took by withholding the account of PCL was a “lawful act”.

However, the plaintiff asked the court to dismiss the objection.

By the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/779/18, Pinnacle Communications is seeking “A declaration that the act of the 1st defendant in ordering the 3rd defendant to place a “post-no-debit” restrictions on the plaintiff’s account with the 3rd defendant without any court order and or any valid court order is ultra vires, unlawful, injurious, unconstitutional and a breach of the plaintiff’s right to its movable property.

The plaintiff is also seeking, “A declaration that the act of the 2nd defendant in placing a “post-no-debit” restrictions on the plaintiffs account number 1012875804 with the 3rd defendant without any court order and or any valid order is unlawful, injurious, unconstitutional and a breach of the plaintiff’s right to its movable property.

More so, PCL wants, “A declaration that the failure of the 3rd defendant to right the wrongful act of the first defendant in ordering a “post no debit” restrictions on the plaintiff’s account with the 2nd defendant without a valid court order is unlawful, illegal, unconstitutional and a breach of the plaintiff’s right to its movable property.

Further more, the plaintiff is seeking “An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from placing any restrictions on plaintiff’s account with the 2nd defendant without a valid and competent court order.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st defendant from placing any form of restrictions on the plaintiff’s account with the 2nd defendant and or any other bank or financial institution in which the plaintiff maintains any account and or dealings, without a court order and or valid and competent court order.

“An order for the payment of the one billion naira as general, exemplary and punitive damages against the defendant for their unlawful and illegal act.