By VINCENT UJUMADU
AWKA—AN Nnewi High Court presided over by Justice M.I. Onochie has sealed off three branches of an old generation bank in the industrial town of Nnewi over alleged breach of contract entered into with an automobile manufacturing company, Innoson Nigeria Limited, and failure to obey court order.
The affected branches were the main branch at Edo–Ezemewi road, as well as two other branches located at the Nkwo Nnewi Main Market.
Workers and customers were taken by surprise when fierce–looking mobile policemen and court officials stormed the three branches to execute the order of the court for the enforcement of its judgment of May 28, 2012 in suit a instituted by Inooson Group.
Though the bank workers put up some resistance, they were overpowered by the police who supervised the confiscation of valuable property of the bank, including vehicles, air conditioners, telecommunication equipment and a transformer which were deposited at the court premises.
Innoson had, in 2009, dragged the bank to court claiming N500 million as damages for alleged negligence and defaulting in the execution of a contract it entered with the bank in November, 2008.
for the opening of letter of credit worth US$805,430 for the importation of component parts for the completion of its automobile manufacturing plant in Nnewi.
In the judgment, the presiding judge had ordered the bank to pay the company the sum of N75 million as damages, describing it as enough compensation for the losses suffered by the company as a result of the breach.
The judgment read in part: “From the pleadings filed by the parties, there is no dispute that on 21/11/2008, the plaintiff delivered a letter dated 18/11/2008 authorizing the defendant to bid for the sum of $805,430 in the Whole Dutch Auction System (WDAS) foreign exchange market at the rate of N117.56 per dollar. There is also no doubt that the plaintiff authorized the defendants to use the foreign exchange to establish a letter of credit for its overseas suppliers.
“There is no doubt that in addition to the said letter, the plaintiff submitted Form ‘M’ proforma invoice and certificate of insurance to the defendant. There is also common ground that the plaintiff had in its account, sufficient funds to cover the transaction at the rate of N117.56 to USD1.00. There is equally no doubt that a document called swift letter of credit was sent to the plaintiff on 25/11/2008.”
Though the bank filed an application for a stay of execution of the judgment on July 9, 2012, the court rejected it and subsequently issued an order for the enforcement of its judgment.
The bank has, however, appealed against the judgment which hearing has been fixed for May 18, 2013.