By Athan Agbakwuru
A High Court sitting in O w e r r i , the Imo C a p i t a l , presided over by Justice M. E. Nwagboso, has issued an order restraining five commercial banks in the country from debiting the state funds in order to pay former Deputy Governor Eze Madumere, pending the determination of a suit before the court.
The state government in its application stated that the state’s fund domiciled with the affected commercial banks are for the salaries, pensions and gratuities of Imo workers and retirees respectively.
Justice Nwagboso, stated that the order followed an exparte motion filed by the Attorney-General of Imo State against the affected institutions and individuals which includes Zenith, Access, UBA, Union and First Bank.
The judge said, “The defendants are restrained from paying out or transferring out any funds from the account of Imo State Government or from the federal account allocation committee or any other funds housing the salaries of workers, pensions and gratuities of pensioners without the express mandate of the plaintiff who is the Attorney General of the State.”
Justice Nwagboso later adjourned the matter to June 12, 2022 for further hearing. Meanwhile, the State Government has informed the public that the court case which necessitated the sealing of branches of Zenith Bank in the state is now before the Court of Appeal and therefore urged the bank to open its doors to customers immediately as it would amount to contempt of court for any of the parties to the suit to resort to self help while the case is pending.
The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba, said that the Appeal Court will commence hearing on the matter on Tuesday next week based on an appeal lodged by the Imo State Government against the judgment of a lower court. E m e l u m b a maintained that although the judgment was obtained by the former Deputy Governor, Prince Madumere, upon which a garnishee order was used to seal Zenith Bank, the subsequent appeal has vitiated the earlier order.
He therefore advised all parties in the case to adhere to due judicial process and refrain from self help while the matter lasts. Our correspondent reliably reports that all branches of Zenith Bank in the state were yesterday under lock and key following the enforcement of a court order charging the bank to pay the deputy governor his entitlements as erstwhile deputy governor of Imo, after court reversed his impeachment by the state House of Assembly.