Barring any unforeseen development, the managing director of Guaranty Trust Bank, Miriam Olusanya will, from next week, be subjected to trial for contempt of court for allegedly blocking a customer’s account domiciled in the bank’s Apata, Ibadan branch with an order purportedly obtained from a magistrates’ court in Kano state.
The trial for contempt of court was ordered by Justice A. L. Akintola of the High Court of Oyo state, following an ex-parte motion brought by Musibau Adetunbi (SAN), lawyer to the bank’s aggrieved customer, Omolara Abosede Ogunkoya.
By the order issued on September 18, a copy of which was seen in Abuja on Tuesday, September 19, Justice Akintola directed that court documents relating to the contempt proceedings be served on the bank’s MD and its Apata branch’s Manager, Ms. Funmi Olutayo.
Part of the order reads: “Furthermore, by this order, the applicant herein, is hereby allowed to serve Form 48 (notice of consequences of disobedience to order of this honourable court made on the 7th day of September 2023 and Form 49 (notice to show cause why the order of attachment should not be made and other subsequence processes in these contempt proceedings on the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank Pic, Miriam Olusanya by substituted means to wit; by pasting the said processes on the wall of, Guaranty Trust Bank Pic, Apata branch/business office, Ibadan Oyo state.”
The contempt case was informed by the bank’s alleged refusal to obey the court’s orders contained in a judgment delivered on September 7 directing it to, among others immediately lift the restriction it placed on Mrs. Ogunkoya’s account.
Mrs Ogunkoya had sued the bank following its alleged refusal to lift the restriction it placed on her account without allegedly offering any reason for its action.
In the fundamental rights enforcement suit, marked: M/696/2023 Mrs. Ogunkoya said she had operated the account without hindrance until the bank suddenly placed a lien on it earlier this year.
She added that her efforts to make the bank rethink or provide a reason for its action proved abortive, prompting her to sue.
Delivering judgment on the suit on September 7, Justice Akintola found among others that the bank’s action was unjustified, noting that the order on which the bank relied to act was doubtful.
The judge said: “It is doubtful if the enrolled order of the Kano Chief Magistrate Court, attached as Exhibit B to the respondent’s (the bank’s) counter affidavit is a certified true copy of such an order.
“To the extent that it purports to be a public document, but which is not certified as a true copy of the original, this court cannot take cognizance of same.
“In the end result, the basis upon which the respondent (GTBank) has placed the lien or embargo on the applicant’s account maintained with the respondent is of doubtful validity, and same cannot be recognized or given any effect to by this court.
“It is on this premise that this court finds merit in the applicant’s application, and the same accordingly succeeds. It is consequently, hereby ordered as prayed.”
The judge proceeded to declare that GTBank’s placement of lien or seizure of Mrs. Ogunkoya’s account amounted to a violation of her right to own property guaranteed under Sections 43 and 44 of the Constitution.
Justice Akintola ordered the bank to immediately lift the restriction on the account, orders the bank has failed to comply with, promoting Mrs. Ogunkoya’s resort to the contempt proceedings to compel GTBank to comply with the subsisting orders of the court.