Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday dismissed a preliminary objection by Zenith Bank challenging a suit filed by Pinnacle Communications Ltd (PCL) against the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), and the commercial bank.
Pinnacle Communications 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 damages against the agency.
Delivering ruling on the objection of Zenith Bank (2nd defendant), the court said the application lacked merit, was frivolous and incompetent.
Justice Taiwo held that Okey Ojukwu, counsel to the commercial bank ought not to have filed the preliminary objection in the first place because the December 14, 2018, judgement of Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, which voided and nullified the freezing of account of Pinnacle Communications domicile in the bank was explicit and unambiguous.
Ojukwu had in the preliminary objection of the bank claimed that the action it took by withholding the account of PCL was a “lawful act”.
Justice Taiwo said the objection by the bank was filed out of misconception and only amounted to a waste of the court’s precious time.
“The application of the second defendant is an invitation to this court to sit on appeal on the decision of my learned brother Dimgba J. of Dec.14, 2018.
“This court, with all due respect to the second defendant shall not fall into that error.
“The application is not only incompetent and an abuse of court process, it is one brought without carefully and painstakingly understanding the ruling my learned brother gave on the interlocutory injunction”, Justice Taiwo held.
Consequently, the Judge reasoned that “This type of application should be discouraged by the court and counsel, and to discourage counsel from filing such frivolous application, the court must come down hard on counsel who filed such applications either on their own or on the instruction of their client”.
“I therefore find no merit in this application and it is accordingly dismissed having held that the application is frivolous, time wasting, incompetent and an abuse of court process.
“I shall fail in my duty as a judge if I do not award cost. Therefore, I award N100,000 against the second defendant in favour of the plaintiff” Justice Taiwo stated.
By the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/779/18, Pinnacle Communications is seeking “A declaration that the act of the 1st defendant (ICPC) in ordering the 3rd defendant to place a “post-no-debit” restrictions on the plaintiff’s account with the 2nd 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 2nd 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.
Furthermore, 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.