ABUJA – An Abuja Federal High Court on Friday granted an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the I-G from arresting two Italians accused of issuing 10 dud cheques valued at N100 million.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole gave the order after listening to the submission of Ahmed Raji (SAN), Counsel to the Italians, and granting all the reliefs sought.
The plaintiffs, Piero Allafranchino and Taglioretti Roberto, had, through their counsel, approached the court with an exparte application, seeking to stop their arrest by the police.
In the application, the plaintiffs joined Zenith Bank Plc as co-defendants and the police.
According to Raji, New Technics Construction Ltd, Allafranchino’s company had entered into a construction contract valued at N5.3 billion with Delta Mall Development Company in 2013.
He said that his client approached his bankers, Zenith Bank Plc, which provided an advanced payment guarantee of 20 per cent (1.05bn) construction cost of the contract.
Raji said that there was an alleged dispute between the parties to the contract which made Delta Mall to unilaterally terminate the contract.
He said that Zenith Bank then wrote a false petition to the police against the first plaintiff,, alleging fraud following which he was arrested and detained on May 1 at the Special Anti-Fraud Unit, Lagos.
According to Raji, while his client was in detention, the police forced him to issue 10 post-dated cheques valued at N10 million each to the police under duress.
He said that subjecting his client to issue the cheques to them portrayed the police as debt collectors which the constitution of the country did not assign to them.
He therefore urged the court to grant his clients’ application, restraining the defendants and their agents from arresting them.
According to him, the defendants will, unless restrained by this court, re-arrest and detain my clients and present the cheques for payment, knowing full well the stringent penalty for doing so.
Raji also urged the court to act on the application promptly, praying that “time is of essence in this application which is also to preserve the subject matter of the dispute between the parties.”
After making the restraining order on the police not to arrest the plaintiffs, Justice Kolawole adjourned the case till June 2.
He ordered that the defendants should be served with hearing summons in order to enter appearance. (NAN)