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BusinessBanking/FinancePolaris Bank Vs Ondo: CBN Cautious Over Garnishee Order; Hearing Resumes Today

Polaris Bank Vs Ondo: CBN Cautious Over Garnishee Order; Hearing Resumes Today

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The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has yet to freeze the account of Polaris Bank following an order by a high court in Ondo state last week. The court had ordered the apex bank to block the bank’s account over a N2.16 billion judgment debt in favour of the state government.

But sources told the magazine, on Monday, that the Godwin Emefiele-led CBN is not likely to carry out the order since the case is still pending in the trail court.

“We have a statutory obligations to apply the law where and when necessary. The CBN is aware of the court case and following proceedings, and will take the necessary steps when it’s time to do that. Besides, we have not been served the Garnishee order. When that’s done the CBN will know how to proceed on this matter,” a top source in the bank said.

The source spoke as proceedings in the case resumes today after the court ,last week, fixed Monday, January 16 for furher hearing on the matter.

Polaris Bank had said in a statment at the weekend that it has yet to be served the Garnishee order. The former bridge bank urged customer and members of the public not to be mislead by the said order.

The bank said its account cannot be frozen by the CBN until the case has been fully heard.

The garnishee order was issued by Justice Adegboyega Adebusoye following an application filed by Charles Titiloye, Ondo attorney-general and commissioner for justice who informed th3 court that the application was necessary over alleged failure and neglect of the bank to meet the condition of the stay of execution of an earlier judgment.

Polaris Bank however clarified that the effect of the order is not to freeze its account with CBN but to set aside the disputed judgment amount until the case has been heard, adding that it has already applied for a motion of stay of execution in the same court.

The statement reads: “We are aware of the matter and our Solicitor has filed necessary processes to set aside the Garnishee order,” the statement reads.

“The matter is on appeal and an application for stay of execution is pending at the Court of Appeal.
“Thus, the garnishee order ought not to have been obtained by the reason of the pending appeal and motion for stay.

“The Bank is yet to be served the Garnishee Order as required by law relating to Garnishee proceedings.
“Above all, the effect of the order is not to freeze the Bank’s account with CBN as erroneously published by a section of the media but to set aside the contentious judgment sum until conclusion of hearing in the case.”

Justice Adebususi had last week ordered the CBN to freeze Polaris Bank account to the tune of N2 billion judgement debt following an application moved by the Ondo state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Ondo State, Charles Titiloye.

The commissioner applied for the garnishee order in the suit No AK/75/2017, attaching all the sums of indebtedness of Polaris Bank to Ondo State Government.

Ruling on the motion, the judge said the bank was liable for mismanaging the account of the state Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy affairs.

Justice Adebususi further ruled that Polaris Bank made unlawful deductions from the government account with the bank and ordered a refund and payment of the damages.

The court had earlier granted a stay of execution of its judgment pending an appeal on the condition that the bank made payment of the judgement debt to an account held by the Registrar of the court.

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