Wema bank clarifies alleged contempt suit filed by Heritage bank

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By Kayode Tokede

The management of Wema Bank plc has cleared the air on the alleged contempt suit that was earlier filed against it by the management of Heritage Bank Plc.

Heritage Bank sometimes ago won a court case against the Ondo State Government and the state’s Attorney General.

This was to the tune of N1 billion. The state paid the sum of N600 million to the bank, with N400 million left outstanding.

In the same vein, Heritage Bank also obtained a court win against Idanre Local Government Universal Education Authority to the tune of N405.4 million.

Wema Bank, with whom the Ondo State Government had an account, deposed an affidavit, saying that the Ondo State Government had up to N745 million in its account.

Meanwhile, the affidavit, which was deposed by Wema Bank, had been attached to an order of nisi that Heritage Bank had obtained in an effort to ensure that both parties comply with the court order.

An order nisi is a court order that comes into force at a future date, particularly when a condition is not met. In other words, an order nisi works in such a way that if a condition in a ruling is unmet, the ruling becomes a decree absolute and binding.

In the case of Wema Bank, there was a principle judgment sum of N134 million which was meant to become absolute if the bank failed to remit the money in its custody to Heritage Bank.

However, the Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Wema bank, Johnson Lebile in a signed statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Thursday said, “Heritage Bank Plc. obtained judgement against Ondo State Government sometime in February 2016 in the Ondo State High Court, Akure.

“The judgement was subsequently registered at the Federal High Court Lagos in 2019. In a bid to enforce the judgement, Heritage Bank initiated garnishee proceedings at the Federal High Court Lagos against several parties, including Wema Bank Plc. believed to be in custody of monies belonging to the Ondo State Government.

“At this proceeding, the Bank declared the funds of Ondo State Government with it, while Ondo State Government filed a Preliminary Objection to the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court which the Court ruled against.

“Thereafter, the garnishee order was made absolute against the bank. Immediately after the Order was made absolute, Ondo State served the bank with a Notice of Appeal and a Motion for Stay of Execution pending the outcome of the Appeal. Based on the Appeal and the application for stay, Wema Bank had to exercise caution in the release of the garnishee sum.

“Subsequently, Heritage Bank filed a Committal Proceeding against Wema Bank, asking the directors of Wema Bank to appear before the Court to explain why the bank had not released Ondo State’s funds in satisfaction of the judgment in favour of Heritage bank. Hence, the news and publications in the media.

“Currently, we wish to inform members of the public that the matter has been resolved by the parties and the committal proceeding against Wema Bank has been withdrawn.”

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