Don’t Touch It – Court orders Fidelity Bank to stay away from Daar Communications

by Hauwa Gambo

"Who's laughing now?" - Raymond Dokpesi, CEO of Daar

A Federal High Court in Lagos has denied an order it supposedly issued to Fidelity Bank Plc to collect all monies belonging to Daar Communciations, parent company of Ray Power and Africa Independent Television (AIT) in  17 banks and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

According to Justice Idris Abubakar, in an ex-parte order made yesterday, he clarified that he made a garnishee order nisi which was directed at Daar Communications to show cause why the debt claimed to be due from Fidelity Bank should not be attached to the judgment  on debt and cost of the garnishee proceedings.

“That is not an order that all monies due to Daar Communications in 17 banks and the CBN be paid to Fidelity Bank,” he said.

This followed Daar Communications, through its lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) drawing the attention of the Justice to a letter from the Securities and Exchange Commission to Daar’s managing director “It has come to the knowledge of the Commission that Fidelity Bank Plc has obtained a court order to the effect that all monies due Daar Communications Plc in 17 banks and CBN be paid to Fidelity Bank,” the letter said.

In his ruling, the Justice said: “I am in possession of a letter purportedly written by the SEC dated April 3, 2012 wherein SEC said it was in receipt of a court order to the effect that all monies paid due to Daar Communications Plc in 17 banks and the CBN, to be paid to Fidelity Bank.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I want to state that this court never made the said order. This court made an order, a garnishee order nisi which was directed to the garnishees to show cause why the debt claimed should not be attached to answer through the judgement debt and the cost of the garnishee proceedings. It is not an order that all monies due to Daar Communications Plc in 17 banks and the Central Bank be paid to Fidelity Bank.

“Let me state that the service of the ganishee order nisi does not operate as a transfer of ownership of the debt of the judgment debtor to the judgement creditor, it merely creates an equitable charge on the debt.”

The two companies are in litigation over how much money exactly Daar owes Fidelity Bank from what it borrowed to broadcast Nigeria’s hosting of the 2009 Under-17 World Cup.

While the media company says it has paid the bank N4.2 billion, it says Fidelity Bank has wrongly held back N1.2 billion domiciled in the bank.

 

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