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Court Freezes Zamfara’s Accounts Over N3bn Debt

Kingsley Kanayo

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday restrained the Zamfara State   Government from operating in any form its accounts in 21 banks in the country until a N3.1billion debt the state owed Ecobank Nigeria Limited is paid.

Justice Abang also ordered the 21 banks involved to disclose the amount of money which Zamfara State had in its accounts with them.

He further directed the banks to appear before him on November 6, 2015, to give reasons, if they have any, why such funds should not be withdrawn to defray the debt.

It will be recslled that Justice Abang had on September 30, 2015, delivered judgment in favour of Ecobank in a N3.1billion debt recovery suit the bank filed against Zamfara State Government andsix others.

The court had awarded the bank’s claim of N3.1billion with 30 per cent interest from March 1, 2013 till judgment day and 10 per cent thereafter until the final liquidation of the debt.

Justice Abang had held in the judgment that the papers before him showed that Zanfara State obtained a credit facility in sum of N1.5billion in 2009 from the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc, which was later acquired by Ecobank.

The court also held that Zamfara State neither denied being indebted to the bank nor proved that it had liquidated the loan, which it obtained to execute a water project.

The judge, therefore, ordered the accountant-general of the federation to ensure that the judgment sum, with interest, was deducted from funds accruable to Zamfara State in the federation account and to pay it to Ecobank until the debt was fully liquidated.

However, the state and the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), filed an appeal and also urged the court to stay execution of the judgment pending the determination of the appeals.

But the court, in a ruling on the application for stay on Tuesday, dismissed both applications and asked Ecobank to proceed with the process of recovering the debt from Zamfara State.

According to the judge, “I have been wondering how the order will affect the CBN so that the CBN will now go and apply for a stay of execution of not just the order made against it but the entire judgment.

The judge also stated, “It is my humble view that CBN will not lose anything if the order is complied with.”



Copyright 2015 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to and other relevant sources.

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