Big Shame: Justice S.O Falola Bares His Fangs on Polaris Bank Customers  

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Big Shame: Justice S.O Falola Bares His Fangs on Polaris Bank Customers  

Big Shame: Justice S.O Falola Bares His Fangs on Polaris Bank Customers   
July 23
19:39 2019

In another theatre of the absurd fit for the box office, a High Court Judge, sitting in Ikirun, Osun State, Justice S. Oyejide Falola, has dared the National Judicial Council (NJC) in his recent ruling in the Suit No: HIK/41/18 between Quadri Lateef and Others Vs M. D. Global Concept Investment Limited, Gabriel Omeka Omeka and Polaris Bank Limited.

On Friday, July 12, the Osun State High Court Judge made the Garnishee Order absolute and directed that the sum of $1.998, 968.50 be paid by Polaris Bank within three days on the ground that the stated sum was the balance in Omeka’s account before the bank’s petition to the police. This order, strangely, was without any enquiry as to the source of the funds and what kind of business the account owner did to earn such money in foreign currency.

Polaris Bank was served with a garnishee order nisi on the account of Gabriel Omeka Omeka (the account owner) on January 9th, 2019, and the bank immediately filed an affidavit to show that $23.50 was the actual balance as at the time of service of the order. Polaris Bank claimed that Omeka’s account with No. 2130049662 was one of the 13 used during the cyber-attack on its system on December 2nd and 3rd, 2018, when balances of certain accounts were tampered with and fraudulently increased to fictitious amounts. The fraud was promptly reported to the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigerian Police Force.

A garnishee Order nisi normally should be against the account of a debtor but strangely, in this case, it was against the account owner who was named as a garnishee in the order; an arrangement that shows that Justice Falola is deeply involved in the phoney arrangement.

However, in his response to the bank’s affidavit to show cause, Omeka asserted that his account had a credit balance of $1,199,968.50 without providing evidence of how he earned such revenue. Interestingly, the judge gave the bank three days to pay on July 12 (a Friday) but signed the writ of execution the following Monday when the bank had yet to even receive the court order.

In spite of the fact that the bank had filed a stay of execution and notice of appeal against the judgment, a court Sheriff, with a combined police team, still went ahead and stormed different branches of the bank to levy execution same Friday and in the process, disrupted and shut down banking operations in Osogbo, repeating same on Monday in other locations of the state, particularly in Ilesha and Ile-Ife, thus wreaking untold hardship on innocent bank customers.

Incidentally, Justice Falola is not new to blatant miscarriages of justice. In 2008, before his elevation to the position of a High Court Judge in Osun State, a civil society group, the Osun State Civil Societies Coalition Against Corruption & Violation (OSCARV), had petitioned the National Judicial Commission (NJC) then headed by retired Justice Ahmed that Justice Falola ‘lacked the integrity of a person to be appointed to such exalted position of a High Court Judge because he was biased and a partisan Magistrate.’ In another controversial judgment, the judge issued a 45-year jail term against a thief who stole the then Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s mobile phone. The list of the miscarriage of justice of Falola is indeed endless.

Ordinarily, as it is with best practices in law, those prosecuting this case perhaps should investigate the connivance or otherwise of the judge because the facts of cyber fraud with overwhelming documentary evidence were placed before it, yet, he turned a blind eye. At a time the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and the National Judicial Council (NJC) are doing all they could to cleanse the bench and reign in reckless judges, this phoney judgment by Justice S.O Falola presents a test case for the NJC and the federal government.


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