The Management of Wema Bank Plc. has kicked against the warrant of arrest of its Managing Director, Mr. Ademola Adebise, saying it is inappropriate and a violation of his fundamental right to fair hearing.
The bank also refuted and dismissed the allegations of dud cheque and forgery levelled against the managing director, as well as dismiss the inappropriate issuance of bench warrant on him.
The Chief Magistrate, Elizabeth Jones of the Chief Magistrates’ Court in Wuse, Abuja had issued a warrant of arrest against Adebise following his non- appearance before the court to respond to an ongoing forgery case brought against the bank by one Mr George Halliday despite five adjournments.
Reacting to the development, the bank management, in a statement, said the Managing Director was never personally served with any process to appear before the Magistrate Court, neither was he represented in court, adding that if there were any, he would have honoured them and be in court.
The bank stated that the management is already engaging in legitimate actions to seek redress and bring to book, all the perpetrators of the unprofessional conducts and heinous criminal act against its managing director and the bank.
The statement reads: “The attention of Management of Wema Bank Plc has been drawn to the trending news in the media to the effect that a Magistrate’s Court in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, had issued a warrant for the arrest of our Managing Director, Mr. Ademola Adebise, in connection with a garnishee proceeding for the payment of a judgement-debt on behalf of the Bayelsa State Government.
“Wema bank plc would like to use this medium to refute the allegations and dismiss the gross representation of facts in regard to the material facts, and the apparent breach of the principles of fair hearing before such order of the court was entered against our Managing Director.
“Wema bank plc wishes to state that, contrary to the facts presented before Her Worship, Mrs. Elizabeth Jones, the said set of five cheques for the total sum of N50 million issued in protest based on pending applications before an Abuja High Court then, were in favor of the Chief Registrar FCT High Court, not in favour Barrister. George Haliday who is now claiming the proceeds of the cheques. It is important to note that those cheques were not signed by Mr. Ademola Adebise and had not assumed the position of the Managing Director of the bank at the material time the cheques were issued in favour of the Chief Registrar.
“Furthermore, we would like to state that the five cheques issued in protest by our bank were not dud cheques as alleged by the complainant. The cheques have only not been cleared for payment because of the subsisting appeal at the Court of Appeal Abuja on the garnishee proceeding, which has now been decided in favour of the bank.
” It was after Barrister George Haliday lost at the Appeal Court that he resorted to a Magistrate Court in Abuja to lodge a complaint about issuance of dud cheques. It is very worthy of note that the judgement debt against Bayelsa State Government, which Barrister George Haliday attempted to enforce by a garnishee proceeding, thereby leading to the issuance of the cheques in question had been settled by Bayelsa State Government via a Terms of Settlement between Barrister. George Haliday and the Bayelsa State Government at the Supreme Court.
“Wema bank wishes to state that the warrant for the arrest of Mr. Ademola Adebise is in violation of his fundamental rights to fair hearing as he was never personally served with any process to appear before the Magistrate Court, neither was he represented in court.
” We are a law-abiding corporate citizen; if there was any court summon properly served on the Managing Director for his appearance in court, he would have done so without fail. But, in this case, there was no such service extended to him or any court processes personally served on him to appear in court until a warrant of arrest was issued in absentia. We view the arrest warrant as being an infringement on his fundamental rights.
“We, therefore, refute and dismiss in their entirety the allegations of dud cheque and forgery levelled against our Bank and the Managing Director. We also dismiss the inappropriate issuance of bench warrant on our Managing Director. We are already engaging in legitimate actions to seek redress and bring all the perpetrators of these unprofessional conducts and heinous criminal act against our Managing Director and the bank to book.”
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