Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe of the Ikeja Special Offences Court is furiously unhappy over an unscrupulous story credited to her by some fake, over-ambitious and junk online news platforms about the judgment she delivered recently.
The respectable Justice who delivered a case that involved foremost financial management in Nigeria, Zenith Bank, decided to release her original certified True Copy (CTC) of her judgment to back her claims; while saying all what the online media platforms said she delivered, were all fake and wondered how and where they got their own reports.
So, one wondered where these fake news platforms derived their stories from. The certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgment is now in the open for anyone to see.
These online platforms had reported that the Justice accused Zenith Bank Plc of bribing both the judges and lawyers for 11 years to pervert justice, with several online media outlets alleging that Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe made the claim on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 while delivering judgment in a suit marked LD/ADR/186/2014 between Real Integrated and Hospitality Limited as claimant and Zenith Bank Plc and State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB) as first and second defendants respectively.
One such publication quotes the judge as saying “My recommendation is that Zenith Bank is a fraud and people must be very careful in their dealings with the bank.”
Some of the other quotes read: “Zenith Bank bribed the lawyers in the matter.
“This they have done for 11 years. So many lawyers and judges have been bribed in this matter just perverting justice. What is more embarrassing, the current governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele was the one who came to navigate and begged for the deposit. He has not been able to do anything to Zenith Bank because he was the managing director of the bank at the time of this transaction.”
However, nowhere in the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgment that was made available to credible news platforms showed that the Judge did not make such statements.
While the Judge did make a scathing criticism of the bank, Justice Fadipe did not accuse Zenith bank of bribing judges and lawyers for 11 years to fraudulently alter the course of justice, as claimed by the online mediums.
There was also no mention of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele in the CTC of the judgment.
The judge’s comments, as contained in the judgement, include: “The 1st defendant has been the beneficiary of the malevolent game of chess it plunged both claimant and the 2nd defendant into, holding the sum of N872,780,552.84 in its custody without paying interest thereon from 17th February 2011 until 2nd February 2016 when the Court ordered that the money be paid into an interest yielding account in the names of the claimant and the 2nd defendant pending determination of the suit, which order was curiously varied by the consent of all the parties on 20th September 2016 so that the money remained in the 1st defendant’s custody without interest.
“The act of the 1st defendant was unconscionable and detrimental to the goodwill of the claimant and its trade credit with its customers. It was a deliberate and malicious act against the interest of the claimant and the 1st defendant continues to enjoy the largesse in bad faith. Exhibits C4 and C5 clearly state that the funds to be transferred were to offset part of the claimant’s indebtedness for the importation of dictionaries, but the 1st defendant was impervious to this need. I therefore find and hold that the claimant is entitled to substantial damages against the 1st defendant for the injury caused to it.”
The judge made the comments while granting the claimants four reliefs.
The reliefs are that the 1st defendant (Zenith) was in breach of contract when on 7th October, 2011 it refused the claimant to draw from its account No. 1012465427 “despite the fact that the said account was in enough credit to cover the withdrawals sought to be made on the said date.”
The judge further restrained the bank “from disturbing or refusing the claimant from operating its account No. 1012465427 in the 1st defendant’s bank or from honouring the claimant’s transfer or payment obligations to third parties from the said account as long as same is in credit.”
It granted an “interest of 15% per annum on the sum of N872,780,552.84 from 7th October 2011 when the 1st defendant denied the claimant access to the funds in its account which was in credit at that date till judgment.
“Interest on the judgment sum at the rate of 10% per annum from judgment date till final liquidation thereof.
“Costs of this action in the sum of N2.5million.”
Of a truth, Zenith Bank has had a record of open and transparent operations, this earned the organization four SERAS CSR Africa Awards that include “Best Company in Reporting and Transparency”, “Best Company in Infrastructure Development”, “Best Company in Gender Equality and Women Empowerment”, and the coveted “Most Responsible Organisation in Africa”.
In recognition of its track record of excellent performance, Zenith Bank was voted as Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria in the World Finance Banking Awards 2021, Best Bank in Nigeria in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and 2021, Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020, and Best in Corporate Governance ‘Financial Services’ Africa 2020 and 2021 by the Ethical Boardroom. Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2021 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking by The Banker Magazine and the Retail Bank of the year at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards 2020 and 2021.
Zenith Bank has continued to distinguish itself in the Nigerian financial services industry through superior service offerings, unique customer experience and sound financial indices. The bank remains a clear leader in the digital space with several firsts in the deployment of innovative products, solutions and an assortment of alternative channels that ensure convenience, speed and safety of transactions.