A state High Court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has issued a garnishee order on bank accounts belonging to the All Progressive Congress (APC) after the party failed to pay more than N30 million professional fees to two lawyers who represented it in the election tribunal.
The court had in 2017 ruled that the APC should pay N30,220, 00.00 to the two lawyers who represented the party at the national and state assembly election petition tribunals in 2015 in Akwa Ibom.
The two lawyers are Louis Akanimo and Fidel Albert.
The case had gone to the Court of Appeal, Calabar, and back to Uyo, before the garnishee order was finally issued on July 5 by Charles Ikpe.
A garnishee order from court empowers a creditor to recover a debt by seizing the debtor’s money in possession of a third party, usually a bank.
One of the lawyers, Mr Albert on Thursday confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that Wema Bank Plc, in compliance with the court order, has paid them the N30.2 million from the APC account.
Nsikak Akai filed the suit on behalf of the lawyers.
The APC spokesperson in Akwa Ibom, Nkereuwem Enyongekere, told PREMIUM TIMES on Monday that the party was yet to be served with the court ruling.
Mr Albert said he was happy that he was able to reap the fruit of his labour, but that it was sad that a political party like APC “whose mantra is change” had to wait for a litigation before they could pay lawyers their professional fees.
“The APC was very unfair to us. They didn’t have a defence in the case and they refused to pay the money,” the lawyer told PREMIUM TIMES.
“We suffered at the election petition tribunal, I did 22 election petitions for them, left my own practice in Lagos and was in Abuja for seven months. In the end, they owed us that money and had refused to pay since 2015.”
“And even when we did the first garnishee absolute, they appealed. The case stayed with the Court of Appeal, Calabar, then the court said we didn’t give them proper notice and brought the case back to the high court, and yet they didn’t show up.”
Mr Albert said he and his team won some of the election cases at the election tribunal but that the APC lost at the appeal.
He said he and his team were no longer part of the cases at the appeal.
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