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Court stops arrest of Ecobank boss

By Onozure Dania

Lagos—Justice Muslim Hassan of a Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, yesterday, ordered that parties should maintain status quo in a suit filed by the Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Charles Kie, against the Police, over allegations of intending arrest, until Kie’s motion on notice for an order of perpetual injunction is heard and determined.

Maintenance of status quo means that no further steps should be taken by parties until the pending case is heard and decided by the court.

The order followed an ex-parte application argued on Kie’s behalf by his lawyer, Mr. A. I. Olawoye.

Other respondents in the suit are the Inspector General of Police, Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of State Criminal Investigation Department, and Managing Director of Emirates Fuel Exploration and Production Ltd.

Olawoye alleged that armed policemen invaded Ecobank’s head office in a bid to arrest Kie.

The lawyer also said that it was due to the bank’s refusal to transfer about $10.5 million from the account of a customer to that of Emirates Fuel Exploration and Production, as ordered by a Lagos court.

In his ruling, Justice Hassan said: “I have carefully read the application, the affidavit in support, the exhibits attached and the written address of learned counsel.

“I am of the view that the interest of justice will be better served if the respondents are put on notice.

“Meanwhile, status quo ante bellum should be maintained, pending the determination of the motion of notice.”

Kie had sought for an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents or their agents “from harassing, oppressing, detaining, arresting and/or intimidating the applicants or their officers.”

He had also urged the court to restrain the Police from “interfering in any way with the personal liberty of the applicants, or the smooth running of their business.”

 


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