Alleged $48m Claim: Court Says CBN, Banks Have No Case to Answer

Alex Enumah

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has struck out the name of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Guaranty Trust Bank and Access Bank Plc from a suit by the Panic Alert Security Systems Limited on the grounds that the respondents were not proper parties to the suit.

Panic Alert Security Systems Limited and its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) had dragged the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) to court over the payment of $47,821,920 being 10 per cent commission on the sum of $478,211,925.89 recovered for the forum.

Panic Alert and the governors’ forum had allegedly executed terms of settlement on March 29, 2019, and adopted it as consent judgment on April 8, 2019, after the court struck out the names of CBN, GTBank and Access Bank from the matter.

However, on June 30, 2021, the Incorporated Trustees of the NGF filed an application against Panic Alert Security Systems Limited and its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. George Uboh, CBN, Guaranty Trust Bank and Access Bank, seeking an order of the court setting aside the consent judgment entered on April 8, 2019.

Counsel to the Incorporated Trustees of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, P. H.Ogbole SAN, had urged the court to set aside the consent judgment on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter in the first place as same bordered on simple contract which was not within the jurisdiction of the court to entertain.

However, counsel to the CBN, Adeola Adeniyi, urged the court to strike out the name of CBN, saying it was an improper party to the current suit. According to him, the court in entering consent judgment on April 8, 2019, had struck out the name of the CBN from the suit.

He further pointed out that the dispute was essentially between the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigeria Governors Forum and Panic Alert Security Systems Limited given that the CBN was not party to the terms of settlement adopted as judgment of the court.

Adeniyi further contended that the said order of court striking out the name of the CBN remained valid and subsists until same was set aside.

He, thereafter, urged the court to hold that the CBN was not a proper party to the suit as there were no specific claims or reliefs against it.

On his part, Counsel to Access Bank, Ikechukwu Duru, aligned himself with the submission of the CBN and urged the court to strike out the name of his client for not being a necessary party to the suit.

In a short ruling, trial judge and Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, agreed with the submissions of Adeniyi and Duru and struck out the name of CBN, Guaranty Trust Bank and Access Bank from the suit.

Panic Alert Security System Limited and Dr George Uboh were represented by Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, SAN whilst the Incorporated Trustees of Nigeria Governors’ Forum was represented by P. H Ogbole.

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