The Imo State Government has denied the banner headline report of the Vanguard Newspaper Stating that the “Appeal Court has ordered the freezing of all the accounts of the Imo State Government for the money in the affected accounts to be used to settle the debt owed to the litigants”, with the Government stressing that the Appeal Court did not give any order or ruling freezing the accounts of the State government as claimed in the report.
The Attorney-General of the State and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Miletus Nlebedim told media practitioners on Tuesday September 27, 2016 the same day, Vanguard Newspaper carried the disputed report, that the story was nothing but a deliberate mischief and then challenged those behind the false report to publish their facts.
Hear the AG, “I want to categorically state that the Court of Appeal Sitting in Owerri did not make an order or gave any ruling freezing the accounts of the State Government as reported by the Vanguard Newspaper. The burden now lies on the Vanguard Newspapers to authenticate their Claim by Publishing their facts”.
“There is no such order or Judgement from the Court of Appeal and for the avoidance of doubt, what happened relates back to the year 2011 when a company called E.C. Network Nig. Ltd. took out an action against the state government claiming the sum of 800million naira as contract sum for a contract awarded to them during the time of His Excellency Chief Ikedi Ohakim. The contract has to do with the supply of waste bins to Imo State government when the then government was pursuing its clean and green policy”.
“The goods were not delivered to Imo State government. The contention of the claimant was that he imported the waste bins in pursuance of the contractual agreement, the goods arrived the Apapa wharfs but couldn’t be cleared because the government was unable to provide funds to him and as a result the goods were seized. This is his Claim. The goods in question never reached the state, he now made claims of the contract sum and damages”.
“The sum of 800 million naira was claimed as contract sum and 200 million as damages, that was the claim before the Court. The High Court sitting in Owerri granted his relief and awarded the sum of 1billion naira to him”.
“The government of Imo State appealed against that judgement to the Court of Appeal in 2012. The appeal was argued last year, and judgement dismissed the appeal by the State government”.
“Two days after the judgement, we filled an appeal to the Supreme Court challenging the judgement as delivered by the Court of Appeal as it was a malicious judgement looking at the facts and contract agreement. There was a clause there that said that if there is a misunderstanding between the parties, that, they will first go for arbitration and if it fails either party could then go to Court. That arbitration clause in the agreement was not followed, as such it was challenged that the case was premature as it did not follow the due process as agreed by the parties”.
“We did not stop at appealing at the Supreme Court, we followed it up with filling a motion for stay of execution. The motion for stay of execution is even yet to be heard in Court”.
“I wonder where the Vanguard Newspaper got the information of the Appeal Court then freezing the accounts of the State government when there is a pending motion for stay of execution and a pending appeal at the Supreme Court”.“The issue of freezing of account does not even arise as the Claimant never included it in its prayers to the Court, both at the lower Court and Appeal Court. In law the law does not give what was not asked for”.
“There is no way the Court of Appeal would have awarded the respondent what he did not claim”.
The publication by Vanguard is misleading and malicious as they never even cared to verify their facts from the office of the Attorney-General before going for publication. It is now left for them to publish what they have to prove that they were not on blackmail trip”.