COURT HOLDS CBN HAS NO CASE TO ANSWER IN $47.8M CLAIM ON ALLEGED $478M RECOVERY FOR NIGERIAN GOVERNORS’ FORUM

The Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, struck out the name of Central Bank of Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc from the dispute between the Panic Alert Security Systems Ltd and its CEO, George Uboh on the one hand and the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigerian Governors Forum on the other hand.

Panic Alert Security Systems and its CEO, George Uboh had claimed the sum of US$47,821,920  being 10% commission on the sum of USD478,211,925.89 (Four Hundred and Seventy-Eight Million, Two Hundred and Twenty-Five United States Dollars, Eight-Nine Cents) allegedly due to them, from the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Central Bank of Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc. in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/123/2018.

Panic Alert Security Systems Ltd and the Incorporated Trustees of the Nigeria Governors Forum 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 Central Bank of Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc from the matter.

However, on June 30, 2021, The Incorporated Trustees of the Nigeria Governors Forum filed an application against Panic Alert Security Systems Ltd and its Chief Executive Officer, Dr George Uboh, Central Bank of Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc, seeking an Order of the Court setting aside the Consent Judgment entered on April 8, 2019.

Adeola Adeniyi, Esq. of Kenna Partners holding the brief of Prof Fabian Ajogwu SAN, Counsel to Central Bank of Nigeria, had urged the Court to strike out the name of CBN as an improper party to the current suit. Adeniyi argued that the Court in entering Consent Judgment on April 8, 2019, had struck out the name of the Central Bank of Nigeria from the Suit, and that it was obvious that the dispute was essentially between The Incorporated Trustees of the Nigeria Governors Forum and Panic Alert Security Systems Ltd. given that the Central Bank of Nigeria was not party to the Terms of Settlement adopted as Judgement of the Court.

CBN’s Counsel, Adeola Adeniyi further contended that the said Order of Court striking out the name of the Central Bank of Nigeria remains valid and subsists until same is set aside. He thereafter urged the Court to hold that the Central Bank of Nigeria is not a proper party to the suit as there were no specific claims or reliefs against the Central Bank of Nigeria. Counsel to Access Bank, Ikechukwu Duru, Esq. also made similar application, and the Court agreed with Central Bank of Nigeria’s Counsel’s arguments and held that the Central Bank of Nigeria is not a proper party to the suit. Accordingly, the Honourable Justice John Tsoho in its Rulings agreed with the submissions of Adeniyi Esq. and Duru Esq. and struck out the name of Central Bank of Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc from the suit.

The Incorporated Trustees of Nigeria Governors Forum argument for the Court to set aside the consent judgment is on the ground that the Court lacked Jurisdiction to hear the matter in the first place as same bordered on simple contract which is not within the Jurisdiction of the Court to entertain. Panic Alert Security System Limited and Dr George Uboh were represented by Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, SAN whilst the Incorporated Trustees of Nigeria Governor’s Forum was represented by P. H Ogbole, SAN.

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