- Zenith Bank’s Defiance To Court Order Causes Untold Hardship To Imo Residents
- As Customers Vows to Close Their Accounts
Facts have emerged establishing that the nonchalant attitude of the Imo State Government and the collusion of Zenith bank Plc to disobey the Order of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria led to the sealing of the Zenith Bank Branches in Owerri, the capital territory of Imo State.
Owerri residents had woken up on Thursday to be thrown into untold hardship, confusion, and stranded following the sealing of the Bank’s branches in Owerri and its environs.
Zenith bank had lied on oath, colluding with the Imo State Government to deny the Judgement Creditor, Prince Eze Madumere the fruits of his judgment.
Meanwhile, account numbers belonging to the judgment debtor/respondent in the Zenith bank again were denied by the bank even as the bank had colluded with the state government to move most of the money to another account.
Zenith Bank had filed a 14 paragraphed affidavit of cause on 23rd November 2021 and deposed in the same that accounts numbers 1013118920 and 1017415829 do not exist in its database but the other two accounts – 1013197705 and 1017415788 do exist. The bank had also claimed that the last two accounts contain a balance of N42, 116.37k purportedly at the time, an account which at the time of the order nisi was served contained. The second 1013197705 allegedly contained a negative balance of N18, 035, 728, 347.07 DR. Zenith thus attached 2 statements of loan accounts as exhibits C and D to its affidavit.
According to the judgment, Zenith bank had allegedly and tacitly made a frantic effort to show cause why it should not be further burdened with a debt overhang as the state government is heavily owing to the bank.
Contrary to zenith bank’s claims, in its counter-affidavit, the judgment creditor, Prince rzr Madumere denied all depositions made by Zenith Bank Plc and stated as follows;
That account number 1017415829 is owned by the judgment debtor, Imo state government named “Imo Prosperity Account” and the same is in the custody of the bank contrary to its denial that it does not exist;
That account number 1013197705 had a credit balance of N329, 283, 717.56 whereas account number 1017415788 had N4, 602, 042, 116.37 at the time of granting the order nisi.
Prince Madumere’s legal team insisted that the State is never indebted to the Bank but rather the bank owed the State when it was caught inappropriately charging the State and levying the State billions of Naira against the State accounts. In his affidavit, it was explained that Zenith bank Pls struck a compromise as the former refunded the sum of N3 billion to the State Government.
According to its action, Zenith Bank’s explanation is inexcusably a ploy to withhold vital information with a view to frustrating Prince Eze Madumere who is genuinely seeking to recover his entitlements, having served the State with the highest level of patriotism.
According to an Owerri-based legal practitioner, Iheanacho, the action of Zenith bank is not only reprehensible but an act of irresponsibility for a bank that has won many laurels locally and internationally.
He called for a thorough probe into the activities of the Bank to the extent that it does abuse and violates the public trust.
He bemoaned its action by colluding with the State government leading to the suffering of the people of Imo State, calling on the management of the bank to obey Court Order otherwise, the Federal Government should take over the bank in trust for the public.
Meanwhile, National Industrial Court had granted Order Absolute against the Garnishee on May 27, 2022, after the State Government had blatantly refused to explore the
In his explanations, Barr. Kalu Uduma said that Zenith Bank is a custodian of the Judgment debtor’s fund is palpable anxiety in Owerri, the Capital Territory of Imo State over the sealing of the Zenith Bank Branches in Imo by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.
Recall that Prince Madumere after a high court of competent jurisdiction sitting in Owerri presided by Justice Benjamin Iheka on September 25, 2022, declared his purported impeachment null and void, in 2019, he approached the court and instituted a legal suit to recover his arrears of unpaid entitlements.
In 2021, the National Industrial Court ruled in his favour, ordering Hope Uzodimma-led the government to pay him.
Rather than diligently truthfully explore the opportunity granted it to settle out of court with Madumere, it became a platform for some people to sharpen their deceitful acts as they kept tossing him and his legal team.
As reported in the affidavit, since the judgment and application for Order Absolute against the garnishee, for months the State government turned Madumere into an object of ridicule.
Meanwhile, the custodian of Imo State finds, Zenith Bank Plc may be on the verge of losing its prime customers following the reckless way it has flagrantly disobeyed court Order.