An Oyo State High Court has asked the Managing Director(MD) of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), Mrs Miriam Olusanya, to appear before it next week, and explain why she should not be jailed for contempt over the blocking of a customer’s account domicile in the bank’s Apata branch, in Ibadan, with an order purportedly obtained from a Magistrates’ Court in Kano State.
The contempt proceedings was ordered by Justice A. L. Akintola of the Oyo State High Court 7, following an ex-parte motion filed by Musibau Adetunbi (SAN), counsel to the bank’s aggrieved customer, Mrs. Omolara Abosede Ogunkoya.
In an order issued on September 18, Justice Akintola directed that court documents relating to the contempt proceedings be served on the bank’s MD and Manager of its Apata branch, Ms Funmi Olutayo.
“Furthermore, by this order, the applicant herein, is hereby allowed to serve Form 48, notice of consequences of disobedience to order of this honourable court made on the 7th day of September, 2023 and Form 49, notice to show cause why order of attachment should not be made and other subsequence processes in this contempt proceedings, on the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank Pic, Miriam Olusanya by substituted means to wit; by pasting the said processes on the wall of Guaranty Trust Bank Pic, Apata branch/business office, Ibadan Oyo State,” it said.
The contempt proceedings was informed by the bank’s alleged refusal to obey the court’s orders contained in a judgment delivered on September 7, directing it, among others, to immediately lift the restriction it placed on Ogunkoya’s account.
Ogunkoya had sued the bank following its alleged refusal to lift the restriction it placed on her account without allegedly offering any reason for its action.
In the fundamental rights enforcement suit, marked: M/696/2023, Ogunkoya said she had operated the account without hindrance until the bank suddenly placed a lien on it earlier this year.
She added that her efforts to make the bank rethink or provide a reason for its action proved abortive, prompting her to file the suit.
Delivering judgement on September 7, Justice Akintola found among others, that the bank’s action was unjustified, noting that the order on which the bank relied upon to act was doubtful.
“It is doubtful if the enrolled order of the Kano Chief Magistrate Court, attached as Exhibit B to the respondent’s (the bank’s) counter affidavit is a certified true copy of such an order.
“To the extent that it purports to be a public document, but which is not certified as a true copy of the original, this court cannot take cognizance of same.
“In the end result, the basis upon which the respondent (GTBank) has placed the lien or embargo on the applicant’s account maintained with the respondent is of doubtful validity and same cannot be recognised or given any effect to by this court.
“It is on this premise that this court finds merit in the applicant’s application, and the same accordingly succeeds. It is consequently, hereby ordered as prayed,” the judge held.
He subsequently declared that GTBank’s placement of lien on Ogunkoya’s account amounted to a violation of her right to own property guaranteed under Sections 43 and 44 of the Constitution.
Justice Akintola ordered the bank to immediately lift the restriction on the account, an order the bank failed to comply with, prompting Ogunkoya to file contempt proceedings against GTBank and its Managing Director.