Court strikes out suit against seven banks over alleged TSA violation

Vacation judge, Chuka Obiozor, who gave the ruling yesterday, also ordered the government to pay N200, 000 as costs to the commercial banks except Skye Bank, which was not represented in court.

A Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday struck out the suit by the Federal Government seeking to recover $793,200,000 or N250 billion from seven banks, which it claimed, was not remitted into the Single Treasury Account (TSA).

Vacation judge, Chuka Obiozor, who gave the ruling yesterday, also ordered the government to pay N200, 000 as costs to the commercial banks except Skye Bank, which was not represented in court.

The ruling followed a notice of discontinuance dated August 7, 2017 by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami through Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George.

Akinseye-George told Obiozor that the government had decided to explore an ‘out of court settlement’ with the banks in the public interest. The Federal Government had on July 20, 2017 accused the banks of hiding $793m in contravention of the TSA account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

It, therefore, sought and obtained an interim order directing the banks to remit the money to the CBN. But on August 8, the Federal Government applied to discontinue the suit on Malami’s instructions.

Relying on Order 50 Rule two, subsection one, Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules of 2009, Akinseye-George asked the court to strike out the suit. The application was challenged by the seven banks, which urged the court to substitute the strike out order for an order of dismissal.

However, following Akinseye-George’s argument that the banks were not entitled to any cost because they did not file any affidavit to particlurise the damage they claimed to have suffered, Obiozor adjourned ruling till yesterday.

Delivering his decision yesterday, the judge found that since the suit did not proceed to trial, the case was in favour of an order to strike it out, rather than a dismissal.

“The suit is hereby struck out and the plaintiff shall not re-list this suit without prior leave of court. The interim order of this court made on the 20th of July 2017, are hereby set aside, truncated and discharged,” he said.



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