An Ikeja High Court has ordered Zenith Bank Plc to pay the judgment sum of N10.5 million from the account of the Peoples Democratic Party to a lawyer, Mr Debo Adeleke. Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye gave the directive in a Ganishee Order Absolute issued on Monday following the refusal of the party to obey the court’s earlier judgment delivered on Nov.12, 2014.
The judge also dismissed an application filed by the counsel to the national headquarters of the PDP, Mr Chukwuma Nmesirionye, asking the court to set aside the judgment. “The essence of a ganishee proceeding is to compel a third party, who is in custody of a judgment debtor’s funds to pay such funds to the judgment creditor,’’ she said.
According to her, Zenith Bank has admitted that the PDP’s account domiciled with the bank has more than enough credit to satisfy the judgment sum. Ipaye said that it was very unfortunate that a lawyer would have to drag his client to court for payment after rendering legal services to the client.
The judge, therefore, ordered Zenith Bank to issue a certified bank cheque covering the judgment sum and its accrued interest in favour of Adeleke within three days. Adeleke had sued the national headquarters and Lagos State branch of the PDP over the party’s failure to pay him his outstanding legal fees.
Adeleke had claimed that he handled seven cases for the PDP at the Lagos State Local Government Elections Petitions Tribunal. According to him, the legal services were provided by the claimant to the PDP between November 2011 and August 2012. While the national leadership of the PDP was represented by Nmesirionye, its state branch refused to make any legal
representation in the suit.
In the summary judgment delivered on Nov.12, 2014, the judge had held that the second defendant (Lagos PDP) breached the provisions of Order 11 Rule 4 of the High Court of Lagos State Civil Procedure Rules. She noted that the proof of service before the court showed that the party was served with the court processes but refused to file its response to the claimant’s affidavit.
Ipaye said the non-compliance with the court rules had sent an unequivocal signal that the Lagos PDP was not interested in filing its pleadings. She had therefore, ordered the Lagos State chapter of the PDP to pay N10.5 million to Adeleke and N50,000 being cost of his legal expenses.