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Tejuosho Market: Access seeks to jail First Bank’s MD, others over court order

By The Citizen
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Access Bank Plc has initiated contempt proceedings against the Managing Director and the Legal Adviser of First Bank of Nigeria Plc for allegedly flouting an order of court over Tejuosho Ultramordern Market Phase 1, Yaba, Lagos.

But in response to the contempt charge filed before Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court, Lagos, First Bank accused Access Bank of misleading the court and feeding it with half truth.

'The facts deposed to in the affidavit in support of FORM 49 are half-truth and same was intentionally averred and initiated by the plaintiff (Access Bank) to mislead the honourable court and embarrass the Managing Director the said bank,' one of First Bank's affidavits opposing the contempt charge reads in part.

The Lagos State Government had made a concession arrangement of the Phase 1 of the Tejuosho Market with the developer, Stormberg Engineering  Company Ltd, and its owner, Mr. Dolapo Atinmo.

Stomberg Engineering Company and Atinmo, in turn, allegedly entered into separate agreements over the property with Access Bank and First Bank.

In their bid to recover their money, both banks had filed separate suits against Stomberg Engineering and Atinmo. But Justice Abang in the suit filed before him by Access Bank, made an order appointing the bank's (Access Bank) counsel, Mr. Kunle Ogunba (SAN), as the receiver/manager of the market.

Ogunba has now initiated contempt proceedings against First Bank officials, alleging that the officials flouted the court's order of April 30, 2012, by obstructing him as the receiver over the property.

He commenced the contempt proceedings by serving separate Forms 48 dated February 13, 2014 and Forms 49 dated March 4, 2014 on each of the First Bank's MD and its Legal Adviser.

Ogunba urged the court to commit the First Bank's MD and its Legal Adviser to prison for their 'continuous disobedience to the court's order,' which according to him, constitutes 'an affront to the integrity and majesty of this honourable court and hereby undermines the due administration of justice.'

But First Bank, through its counsel, Mr. Oluwakemi Balogun, maintained that it did not flout any court order, predicating  its position on an appeal it filed against the said order of court.

It added that it was not a party to the suit from which the said order emanated.