Monday, June 2, 2014 6:00 pm
Abuja – The Inspector-General of Police, on Monday urged an Abuja Federal High Court to vacate its earlier order, restraining him from arresting two Italians who admitted issuing N100 million dud cheques under duress.
The court had granted an order of interlocutory injunction, restraining the I-G from arresting the plaintiffs,
Piero Allafranchino and Taglioretti Roberto on May 16.
Mr Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), counsel to the IG and Zenith Bank, in an application, urged the court to discharge the order
granted on May 16, and entertain the substantive suit.
Ikwueto said it was necessary to vacate the ex-parte order so that the two Italians would not have advantage
over his clients in the proceedings of the substantive suit.
He also prayed the court to take a `comprehensive look` at the plaintiff’s pleadings to ascertain the veracity of their claims
vis-à-vis the issue of enforcement of fundamental right.
“My Lord, I urge you to vacate the ex-parte order of May 16 and let us argue the motion on notice and let them not have any advantage over my clients,’’ he said.
Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN) counsel to the Italians, in a counter-affidavit, urged the court to dismiss the application on the ground of being incompetent.
Raji argued that prior to obtaining the order, he placed before the court reliable exhibits vis-a-vis the urgent need for the order to protect his clients pursuant to court rules.
“I submit that all the arguments and reliance placed by the defendant counsel be disregarded by the court.
“The case is contained within a very narrow compass; the point in this matter is the resort to police intervention to resolve a purely civil commercial matter involving two parties.
“Therefore, the applicants/defendants have not made any case and should, first of all, be ordered to refund N211 million being my clients’ money held in the bank’’, Raji said.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole, after listening to the submissions of both counsel, adjourned the case till June 10 for ruling.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Kolawole granted an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the I-G from
arresting the Italians pending the determination of the suit.
In the application, the plaintiffs joined Zenith Bank Plc and the police as co-defendants.
According to Raji, New Technics Construction Ltd, Allafranchino’s company had entered into a construction contract valued at N5.3 billion with Delta Mall Development Company in 2013.
He said that his client approached his bankers, Zenith Bank Plc, which provided an advanced payment guarantee of 20 per cent (1.05bn) construction cost of the contract.
Raji said that there was an alleged dispute between the parties to the contract which made Delta Mall to unilaterally terminate the contract.
He said that Zenith Bank then wrote a false petition to the police against the first plaintiff,, alleging fraud following which he
was arrested and detained on May 1 at the Special Anti-Fraud Unit, Lagos.
According to Raji, while his client was in detention, the police forced him to issue 10 post-dated cheques valued N10 million each (to the police).
He said that subjecting his client to issue the cheques to them portrayed the police as debt collectors which the constitution
of the country did not assign to them.
He had, therefore, urged the court to grant his clients’ application, restraining the defendants and their agents from arresting