Home Business N100m dud cheques: Court dismisses I-G, Zenith Bank’s application

N100m dud cheques: Court dismisses I-G, Zenith Bank’s application


ABUJA – An Abuja Federal High Court on Wednesday dismissed an application filed by the Inspector-General of Police and Zenith Bank, urging it to vacate its order against the arrest of two Italians.

The court had on May 16, restrained the I-G from arresting the plaintiffs, Piero Allafranchino and Taglioretti Roberto, who admitted giving the police N100 million dud cheques under duress.

It would be recalled that the Italians had sued the I-G to enforce their fundamental rights and stop their arrest till final determination of the substantive suit.

Delivering ruling, Justice Gabriel Kolawole held that the defendants’ application was incompetent, lacked merit and therefore, dismissed it.

“The defendants’ motion on notice dated May 30 urging the court to discharge its ex-parte order of May 16 is incompetent, lacks merit, fails and is accordingly, dismissed.

“The crux of the matter was why the police were brought into a matter which was a civil business transaction between parties.

“A crucial issue that the court should also determine is whether the plaintiffs suppressed any material facts in their ex-parte application that was granted,’’ he said.

Justice Koawole therefore extended the ex-parte order pending the hearing and final determination of the substantive suit.

He adjourned the case until June 18 for hearing of the substantive suit.

The expatriates, through their counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN), had joined Zenith Bank as a party to the suit.

Raji had claimed that 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 further alleged 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 allegedly forced him to issue 10 post-dated cheques valued N10 million each (to the police).

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.

But Mr Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), counsel to the I-G and Zenith Bank, in an application, urged the court to vacate the May 16,

ex-parte order and entertain the substantive suit.

Ikwueto said it was necessary to vacate the ex-parte order so that the two Italians would not have advantage over his clients in the proceedings of the substantive suit.(NAN)

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