Court sues for amicable settlement in N19.5m judgment debt against Institute of Chemists
Justice Anthonia Ubaka of the National Industrial Court (NIC), Lagos has urged parties in the suit against the Institute of Chartered Chemist of Nigeria (ICCON) to seek out of court settlement and report back to the court October 16.
The judge took the decision at the last hearing after listening to arguments in respect of a suit filed by the former registrar and the chief executive officer of ICCON, Prince Jay Oghifo seeking to compel the Institute to pay him a judgment debt of N19.5million.
Other respondents in the suit aside the Institute are the Federal ministry of health, the minister of health, ICCON president, Prof. Felix Okieimen, Sylvester Obinyan and Ms. T.O Bammodu.
The applicant had sued the respondents over his suspension from office. On the course of court proceedings, his tenure as the ICCON boss elapsed, but the court in 2014, ruled in his favour and ordered the respondents to pay him the judgment sum, being the outstanding salaries and allowances due to him.
However, the respondents refused to comply with the judgment, insisting that the applicant must return his official car, a Toyota Venza before the money can be paid to him.
Consequently, the applicant filed a garnishee application attaching the funds of the 3rd respondent (ICCON) in commercial banks and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and as well initiate a committal proceedings.
The applicant is arguing that it is the proprietary right of a retired registrar/CEO to disengage with an official vehicle because it is provided for in the Institute’s Corporate Policy and Scheme of Guide as approved by the Council and signed by its chairman.
At the last hearing, the CBN was discharged from the garnishee proceedings as its counsel, E. O Uteh argued that the apex bank has already paid the judgment sum into the account of the 3rd respondent and therefore should no longer be held liable. Counsel for the applicant, Chief Albert Akpomudje (SAN) did not object to the discharge application. Therefore, the trial judge discharged CBN from the proceedings.
But the 3rd respondent, filed a motion seeking for the order of court to pay the judgment sum into a designated interest yielding account of a named bank in the name of the Chief Registrar of the court, pending when the resolution either amicably or by court order the issue of the Venza car.
Counsel for the 3rd respondent (applicant), Vincent Nwani also prayed the court to order the applicant to return the car as well as an order to suspend the hearing of the committal proceedings.
Also, counsel for the 1st and 2nd respondents, Abdul Salam argued that the demand for the return of the car must be met before the funds are released, insisting that it is a directive from the supervisory ministry.However, Akpomudje dismissed the argument, saying the car was not an issue before the court during the proceedings that emanated in the judgment debt.
But the judge urged the parties to resolve their differences amicable, considering that the judgment creditor has not enjoyed the fruit of his legal victory years after the judgment was delivered and adjourned till October 16 for report of settlement.
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