Pension Arrears Payment: Court Fines CBN
By Adedapo Adesanya
Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae of the National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja has fined the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) the sum of N100,000 over the bank’s replacement of an application filed for a stay of execution on the judgement of the court over the payment of pension arrears to the former Governor of Taraba State, Mr Jolly Nyame; Mr Uba Ahmadu; Mr Abubakar Armayau and Mr Bilkisu Danboyi.
At the court on Monday, counsel to the central bank, Mrs Johannah Titus, said she was withdrawing an earlier motion dated and filed on May 27 to replace it with another filed yesterday.
This was kicked against by Mr Edward Erhinure, counsel to Mr Nyame, who argued that he had already filed a counter-affidavit to the May 27 application and had also spent money to file processes in response to the application, praying the court to award him the sum of N1 million as costs.
However, Mr Confidence Samuel, counsel to the judgment debtor, the Taraba Government, informed the court that he was not opposing the CBN’s application.
While ruling on the matter, Justice Obaseki-Osaghae directed the CBN counsel to move the motion to replace the same with the one filed on Monday and awarded the sum of N100,000 as costs against the bank to be paid before the next adjourned date, October 17 for a hearing of Monday’s application.
In addition to the application of a stay of execution by CBN, it also filed a notice of appeal contesting the garnishee order delivered by the same court on May 24.
A garnishee order is a judicial proceeding of execution or enforcement of monetary judgment whereby money belonging to a judgment debtor, in the hands or possession of a third party known as the ‘Garnishee’ (usually a bank), is attached or seized by a judgment creditor, the ‘Garnisher’, in satisfaction of a judgment sum of debt.
The court in its ruling made an order absolute in the garnishee proceeding ordering the CBN to pay the judgment creditors.
The judgment creditors had filed the suit against the judgment debtor, the Taraba State Government, and CBN, the garnishee debtor, through a garnishee proceeding.
The judgment debtor in a response filed an application filed on January 24, seeking the order of the court to set aside the order nisi (an order that will ripen or take effect at some set date in the future, unless the order is rescinded by a court before that date), granted in favour of the judgment creditors on December 2, 2021.
CBN on its part had objected to the garnishee proceeding by stating that the court did not have jurisdiction to entertain the proceeding.
The garnishee proceeding had emanated from a judgment delivered by the same court on July 12, 2019.
In the judgment, the court had ordered the payment of the sum of N151.1 million, being the unpaid pension arrears of the judgment creditors.
The judgment, which was delivered by Justice Sanusi Kado, was for an unpaid pension from May 2013 to October 2015.
The court, in the said judgment, had ordered 10 equal instalment payments, commencing from July 2019, on a monthly basis until the final liquidation of the total sum.
The judgment creditors were paid the sum of N16.3 million as the first instalment but were never paid again until the expiration of the instalment plan in Nov. 2021.
The judgment creditors, who were former employees of the judgment debtor upon retirement, were paid the sum of N45 million out of their total pension arrears of N196 million.