Innosons group has reacted to a statement issued by Guaranty Trust Bank [GTB] on the decision of the Federal High Court, Awka Division to issue the necessary process for levying execution – A Writ of Fieri Facias (or Writ of Fi Fa – a document issued by the Clerk of Magistrate Court for the purpose of recording a lien on the judgment debtor’s property; and the legal instrument by which the enforcement officers may seize the assets of a judgment debtor).
This writ of Fi Fa, was sought by Innosons Group in pursuance of the leave to enforce the judgment of Supreme Court decision of 27th February 2019; and having obtained Certificates of Judgment from the Ibadan Division of the Federal High Court.
The bank in its reaction described the move by Innoson as false, mischievous and malicious.
Reacting to GTB’s statement, Innoson in a statement signed by its Head of Corporate Communications, Cornel Osigwe and made available to newsmen on Sunday held that the Garnishee order was against GTB and no one else.
The statement reads: We want to address the general public on the matters arising from the enforcement of judgment against GT Bank by Innoson Nigeria Ltd.
GTB in a Press Statement signed by Erhi Obebeduo claims that “the judgment allegedly in issue is in respect of Garnishee Proceedings against the account of the Nigerian Customs Service Board domiciled with the Bank and not against the Bank as an entity”. GTB by this claim is nothing short of being economical with the truth.
The Garnishee order absolute issued by the Federal High Court Ibadan in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/603/2006 ordered GTB to pay Innoson Nigeria Ltd the judgment sum of N2.4 Billion with a 22% interest, per annum, on the judgment sum until the final liquidation of the judgment.
GTB appealed the Federal High Court’s decision up to the Supreme Court and lost. From the Supreme Court’s decision, you will find that the case was between GTB and Innoson Nigeria Ltd and no other person.
For emphasis, in a garnishee proceeding, once an order of garnishee nisi is made, the garnishee is required by law to set the amount involved aside and will not allow the judgment debtor to withdraw from it; and if the order is made absolute, the garnishee pays the money to the judgment creditor and incurs no liability for doing that but if the order is not made absolute the garnishee returns the money to the judgment debtor.
In this case, the order was made absolute since 29th July 2011 and GTB held unto the money from that time and is using for its business. It follows that by the time the order was made absolute it was no more the judgment debtor’s money but rather that of Innoson Nigeria Ltd who is the judgment creditor; if a garnishee refuses to comply with the order, then, it becomes a judgment debtor, as GTB has become in the present case, against whom execution of the order will issue. Therefore, there is no merit or force in the GTB’s press statement.
Furthermore and interestingly, the Garnishee order was against GTB and no one else; and it is only GTB and no one else that will comply with the order; in the circumstance, the order will be executed against GTB and no one else. Please, be guided accordingly