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Economy

Court reverses self over contempt charge against Fidelity Bank chief

Managing Director of Fidelity Bank,Nneka Chinwe Onyeali-Ikpe
The Eyewitness reporter

A Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has vacated its ruling that convicted and sentenced the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank,Nneka Chinwe Onyeali-Ikpe and Company Secretary of Fidelity Bank, Mrs. Unuigboje Ezinwa to six weeks in prison or a fine of Four Hundred Thousand Naira respectively for contempt.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr. Lateef Owolabi vacated the order in a Suit No: MIK/4726/22 between Justin Ahmed, (judgement creditor),  Prince Enabulele Osazee, (judgement debtor) and Fidelity Bank Plc, (1st Garnishee/Applicant).
The court, in an earlier ruling delivered on February 6, 2023,  held that the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nneka Chinwe Onyeali-Ikpe and the Company Secretary, Mrs. Unuigboje Ezinwa should be committed to six weeks’ imprisonment over alleged disobedience of a garnishee order of the court restraining the bank from allowing a judgement debtor access to his account.
However, at the resumed proceedings on the matter on Feb 15, 2023, the court vacated the committal order on the premise of facts presented before the court that the alleged acts of contempt were not deliberate but arose out of a communication gap between the said parties and the erstwhile counsel.
The court in its ruling also stated that the error or sin of the counsel should not be visited on a party or litigants. The court also noted that the monies that were the subject matter and fulcrum of the contempt proceedings have since been paid to the judgment creditor.
“From the materials presented before this court by the applicant, this application falls within the classic rule where the error or sin of the counsel should not be visited on a party or litigants. Moreover, the applicant has averred that the monies subject matter, the fulcrum of the contempt proceedings had since been paid to the judgment creditor.
”Having fully discharged this payment to the satisfaction of the judgment creditor, this court should not be seen to cry more than the bereaved”, Mr Lateef Owolabi held.
”The solicitor to the bank explained that Fidelity Bank, being a law-abiding institution that will never or under any circumstance, directly or indirectly denigrate the integrity of the nation’s judiciary, had upon receipt of the garnishee order nisi on December 22, 2022, conducted a search immediately, and the result showed several accounts bearing similar names to the Judgment Debtor’s (Prince Enabulele Osazee).”
”To prevent the bank from erroneously restricting the wrong account, the bank filed an affidavit requesting additional account details to enable it to ascertain the correct account(s) to restrict.”
He further stated that, on January 16, 2023, the bank received the Judgment Creditor’s affidavit showing the account number of the Judgment Debtor. Armed with the correct account number, the bank immediately identified and placed a lien on the Judgment Debtor’s account. Unfortunately, during the intervening period, the judgement debtor had carried on depositing and withdrawing from his account.
In vacating the order on February 15, 2023, the Chief Magistrate held that based on the materials before the court, the applicant has been able to tether the law to the facts to warrant the grant of the relief sought on their own strength and not based on lack of opposition.

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Economy

Nigerians to groan under fresh fuel scarcity for another two weeks- Independent Petroleum Marketers

The Eyewitness Reporter 
The current fuel crisis in the country may not go anytime soon as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has warned that the situation may likely persist for the next two weeks.
Speaking against the fresh fuel scarcity in the country, the IPMAN’s Public Relations Officer, Chinedu Ukadike disclosed that there is no petrol product available for supply in the country.
Ukadike, in a statement, said there is a breach in the international supply chain, adding that fuel is not available even for Nigeria’s sole supplier, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NPCL).
This follows an ongoing turnaround maintenance of refineries in Europe.Ukadike explained that once there is a breach in the international supply chain, it will have an impact on domestic supply because they depend on imports.

“The situation is that there is no product. Once there is a lack of supply or inadequate supply, what you will see is scarcity and queues will emerge at filling stations.

“On the part of NNPCL, which is the sole supplier of petroleum products in Nigeria, they have attributed the challenge to logistics and vessel problems.

“Once there is a breach in the international supply chain, it will have an impact on domestic supply because we depend on imports.

” I also have it on good authority that most of the refineries in Europe are undergoing turnaround maintenance, so sourcing petroleum products has become a bit difficult.” IPMAN spokesman said.
According to him, “NNPC Group CEO has assured us that there will be improvement in the supply chain because their vessels are arriving”.“Once that is done, normalcy will return. This is because once the 30-day supply sufficiency is disrupted, it takes two to three months to restore it.

“We expect that by next week or so, NNPC should be able to restore supply and with another week, normalcy should return,” he said.

Ukadike further stated that “NNPC has said the marketers who have not been able to renew their licences will not be allowed to remain on their portal which has been shut for some time now.

” Because of this, we have not been able to request new products”.

 “At this nascent period of deregulation, you will discover that this leads to scarcity, even when the product arrives.

“As it is now, even by their data, out of 15,000 marketers that are on the portal with licences, only 1,050 renewed their licences.

“The requirement for renewal by NMDPRA is so much. Marketers are facing a hostile environment. NNPC placed a deadline of April 15, 2024, for marketers to renew their licences.

“We are, therefore, appealing to NNPC to extend this deadline and also to NMDPRA to hasten the release of licences of marketers who have completed their processes, and also reduce bottlenecks around licence renewals.”

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Economy

CBN sells $15.830m at N1.021 per dollar to 1,583 BDCs

CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso
The Eyewitness Reporter 
In its ongoing effort to ensure liquidity in the foreign exchange market which is expected to ease the pressure on the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday disbursed the sum of $15,830,000m to 1,583 licensed Bureau De Change Operators at $10, 000 each.
In a letter dated April 22nd, 2024 and addressed to the President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria and signed by Dr Hassan Mahmud, the Director, Trade and Exchange Department of the CBN, the beneficiaries are mandated to sell allocated forex to eligible end users ” at a spread of not more than 1.5 percent above the purchase price.
The CBN said the sale of forex to the BDCs will meet market demand (retail-end) for invisible transactions.
The apex bank however advised all the BDCs to continue to abide by the rules and conditions as stipulated in the operational guidelines.
The beneficiary BDCs have trading locations at Lagos, Abuja, Akwa and Kano.
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Economy

News Alert! CBN revokes operational licenses of 4,173 Bureau De Change operators for breach of regulatory guidelines

CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso

The Eyewitness Reporter

In its continuous efforts to sanitize the foreign exchange market and halt the frightening slide of the naira in exchange for the dollars, the Central Bank of Nigeria has revoked the operational licenses of 1,173 Bureau De Change operators.

In a press release issued Friday, March 1st, 2024 and signed by Mrs. Sidi Ali Hakama, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, the apex bank said the axed BDCs failed to observe at least one of the following regulatory provisions which include payment of all necessary fees, including license renewal within the stipulated period in line with the Guidelines, rendition of returns in line with the Guidelines, compliance with guideline, directives and circulars of the CBN, particularly Anti-Money Laundering(AML), countering the Financing of Terrorism(CFT)and Counter-Proliferation Financing(CPF) regulations.

The apex bank said it relied on the powers conferred on it under the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act(BOFIA)2020, Act n0.5 and Revised Operational Guidelines for Bureaux De Change 2015(the Guidelines).

“The CBN is revising the regulatory and supervisory guidelines for Bureau de Change operations in Nigeria. Compliance with the new requirements will be mandatory for all stakeholders in the sector when the revised guidelines become effective.

‘Members of the Public are hereby advised to take note and be guided accordingly”, the statement concluded.

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