N12b Debt: Court Summons DMO's DG, Others over Contempt

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A Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Wednesday,

ordered the
Director-General of the Debt Management Office, Mr. A
braham Nwankwo, to
appear before it, on May 18, 2015.
Also summoned by the court, presided over by Justice Mohammed
Yunusa, for
contempt, is the DMO’s Officer-in-Charge of processing fue
l subsidy claims by oil
marketers, Mr. Umaru Abubakar.
Nwankwo and Abubakar had been cited for contempt of by Ecobank Ni
geria
Limited, which accused them of frustrating its effort to
recover an alleged debt of
about N12bn from an oil marketing firm, First Deepwater Dis
covery Limited.
Justice Yunusa made the summon order on Nwankwo and Abubakar a
fter
questioning their representation in court by a private law
yer, Mr. S.E. Omoraghon.
The judge said that for any lawyer to represent an offic
ial of a public parastatal,
like the DMO, the fiat of the Attorney-General of the F
ederation (AGF) and the
Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), must firs
t be obtained.
Consequently, he ordered that an officer from the offic
e of the AGF must also
appear in court on May 18.
The bank, which claimed that Deepwater Discovery Limited h
ad about N1.8bn
subsidy claim with the DMO, had asked the court to order DMO
to transfer the
money into Deepwater’s account with Ecobank, in order to liq
uidate the company’s
indebtedness.

The bank, however, cited Nwankwo and Abubakar for contempt on th
e claim that
DMO refused to comply with the court’s order to transfer
N845m, which according
to the bank, was the subsidy claim ripe for payment to Firs
t Deepwater Discovery
Limited by DMO.
Ecobank’s lawyer, Mr. Kunle Ogunba (SAN), stated that DMO w
as not represented
in court just as it was not during the previous hearing.
Counsel for First Deepwater Discovery Limited, Mr. D.A.
Awosika, urged the
court to give his client three weeks to settle out of court
with Ecobank, and pleaded
that the contempt proceedings against Nwankwo and Abubaker be
suspended in
view of a move to that effect.

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