Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
The Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Ebonyi State, Uchenna Orji, has faulted a claim by one firm known as Andrew Bishopton Nig. Limited and its partners, Mauritz Walton Nig Ltd, that they got order of the Court to garnish the accounts of Ebonyi State Government.
Orji described the claim as shenanigans of fraudsters.
He was reacting to reports that a federal high court had ordered for withdrawal of over N40bn from the state’s accounts and remittance of same to the companies.
Mr Orji insisted that the order cannot stand as the State Government had already obtained court orders against withdrawal of any money from the state’s coffers.
He urged the people to discountenance the said report which he described as a wild goose chase by some greedy people
He said: “Ebonyi State government had in different communications extracted confessions from the representatives of Andrew Bishopton Nig Limited to the effect that the said company and its partners acted in bad faith and had no contractual basis to make claims against the State Government and or the Local Government Councils in the State in respect of any transaction executed or services rendered whatsoever for or on behalf of the State Government and or Local Government Councils.”
According to him, the representatives of Andrew Bishopton Nig Limited had on the 2nd day August, 2022, in affidavit of facts they deposed, voluntarily distanced themselves from the matter.
He noted that the companies’ representatives in the affidavit stated that the persons who instituted this suit do not have the consent of Andrew Bishopton Nig Limited to institute the case.
“That the Directors of the company never passed any Resolution authorizing the commencement of the Suit.
“That the State Government and or Local Government Councils do not owe Andrew Bishopton Nig Limited any sum.
“And that the Suit was brought in bad faith as the State Government and or Local Government Councils are not indebted to Andrew Bishopton Nig Limited in any sum,” Mr Orji added.
The state spokesman, further added: “The Local Government Councils of the State which had just little business with the said Andrew Bishopton Nig Limited had already gone to a Court of competent Jurisdiction and secured a valid and subsisting order restraining the said Companies and other relevant parties from further making such outrageous claims of unfounded contract and or meddling in the free flow of their allocations.
“The State Government which was falsely and ridiculously sued by the scandalous companies has secured a valid Order setting aside the Order Nisi and Order Absolute for lacking in merit and the appeal is now being heard on merit at the Court of Appeal.
“In fact, through a Court Order dated 7th July, 2022, the High court restrained the said companies, their privies and other necessary banks from accepting for, permitting or allowing the execution of any judgment either by garnishee or any writ of execution whatsoever, against the respective Local Government Areas or any of their Departments, Agencies and Assigns or Government of Ebonyi State without due compliance with Section 3 of Ebonyi State Sheriffs and Civil process (Amendment) Law No.005 2018 and Section 84 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 by first obtaining the consent of the Honourable Attorney General of Ebonyi State pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit already filed in the Court.
“We view the claims of Andrew Bishopton Nig Limited as absolutely irresponsible as they had in an affidavit dated 2nd August, 2022, confessed that the State Government had released the sum of N50,000,000 (Fifty Million Naira) to Andrew Bishopton Nig Limited as one and final payment/settlement of any perceived professional fee in the course of their earlier but duly terminated consultancy services, while we view the claims of Mauritz Walton Nig Ltd as reprehensibly fraudulent as the company has no material relationship whatsoever with the State Government and or Local Government Councils of the State.
“This statement of fact was confirmed by Andrew Bishopton Limited in the affidavit sworn by its representative before the High Court registry dated 2nd August, 2022, wherein the representative of the company stated that Mauritz Walton Nig Ltd is unknown to the transaction, subject matter of the Suit and that the judgment in the Suit was obtained by misrepresentation and without the consent of Andrew Bishopton Nig Limited and thus is bound to be set aside. The Court of competent jurisdiction further reprimanded the said Mauritz Walton Nig Ltd and awarded damages against the company for attempting to obtain judgment by fraudulent means.”
Orji urged members of the public to “ignore the antics of the habitually infamous companies viz: Andrew Bishopton Nig Limited and Mauritz Walton Nig Ltd. We are confident that they will irredeemably hit the rocks as their mission is unreasonably evil.”
Recall that a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, had on November, 2, 2022, ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to commence deduction of over N40billion from the monthly Federation Allocation of Ebonyi State Government.
In an Order Absolute issued by the Court, it equally ordered the Ebonyi State Government to pay the judgement creditors, ANDREW BISHOPTON NIG LIMITED and its partners, Mauritz Walton Nig Limited, the sum of N118,787,380.00) and other sums, for failing to keep to the terms of the contract agreement, it entered with the latter.
It was learnt that in 2016, the Ebonyi State Government allegedly contracted ANDREW BISHOPTON NIG LIMITED to pursue and recover monies illegally deducted on both its foreign and local loans and facilities.
The firm, it was gathered, approached the Court following the state government alleged reluctance to keep to the agreed contract terms, a development that had led to legal battle between Ebonyi State Government and the two firms.
“An Order Absolute of this Honourable Court is hereby made DIRECTING the 2nd Garnishee (United Bank for Africa Plc) to, within 24 hours, pay the sum of One Hundred and Eighteen Million, Seven and Eighty-Seven Thousand, Three Hundred and Eighty Naira) (N118,787,380.00) Only, attached from the account maintained by the Judgment Debtor, Government of Ebonyi State known as Ebonyi State Government Treasury Single Account with Account No: 1001158077 maintained with the 2nd Garnishee Bank, United Bank for Africa Plc into the designated Account Name: Mauritz Walton Nig Limited, Bank Name: Wema Bank Plc, Account No: 0122765584, to liquidate the judgment in this suit.
“An Order Absolute of this Honourable Court is hereby made DIRECTING the 1st Garnishee Bank (the Central Bank of Nigeria) to deduct at source, the sum of US29,854,856.9 (Twenty Nine Million, Eight Hundred and Fifty Four Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty-Six Dollars, Nine Cents) Only and the sum of N3,100,000,000.00 (Thirty Billion, One Hundred Million Naira) Only , respectively from the monthly Federation Allocation Account of the Judgment Debtor, Ebonyi State Government and credit same into the designated Account of the 2nd Judgment Creditor, Mauritz Walton Nig Limited, Bank Name: Wema Bank, Bank Account: 0122765584, to liquidate the judgment sum in this suit,” the judgment read in part.