The National Industrial Court in Abuja has restrained the board of the Federal Housing Authority Homes Limited, a primary mortgage institution, from suspending the bank’s Managing Director, Roland Igbinoba.
Justice M.N. Esowe issued the restraining order following a motion ex-parte filled by counsel to the suspended MD, Chike Okafor.
Mr. Okafor had approached the court and sought its intervention in the illegal suspension of his client.
The board of the FHA Homes had on June 2 ordered Mr. Igbinoba to proceed on indefinite suspension pending the outcome of an expert verification of the operations of the bank under his watch.
The letter, with reference number FHA/MD/OCE/GEN/89, is titled: “Recent Development in the FHA Mortgage Bank and the Need to Take Drastic Action towards Protecting the Bank from Impeding Risks and Safeguarding the Investment of the Federal Housing Authority.”
In it, the board indicated that it had set up an in-house committee to study the operations and financial standings of the mortgage bank with a view to strengthening its operations.
“The report of the committee, however, brought out several operational and administrative malpractices that are possibly leading the bank to impending collapse,” the letter reads in part.
“Similarly, a recent CBN supervisory report has registered 50 exceptions against the operations and practices of the bank. Furthermore, the unhealthy insubordination being exhibited by the managing director of the bank to the board, its principal investor (the FHA) and the supervisory ministry (Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development) calls for concern.
“While the investigation lasts, you are to proceed on an indefinite suspension with immediate effect pending the outcome of the expert verification.”
But in suit number NICN/ABJ/194/2015, brought against the Federal Housing Authority, FHA, the FHA Homes Limited and chairman of the board, Mohammed Al-Amin, counsel to Mr. Igbinoba urged the court to stop the implementation of the suspension letter signed by Mr. Al-Amin.
He also prayed the court to direct the defendants and their representatives to reverse all steps taken in pursuance of the suspension letter issued to Mr. Igbinoba pending the determination of the motion.
The motion was filled alongside a supporting affidavit and affidavit of urgency.
In his ruling, Justice Esowe granted all the payers contained in the motion and issued an order barring the defendants from taking any action on the issue in dispute until they are determined.
“The court hereby makes an order directing the 1 and 3rd respondents to reverse all the steps taken by them, their privies, officers, agents, servants or any other person, or authority acting on the 1st and 3rd respondent’s behalf and or instructions pursuant to the latter dated 2nd June, 2015, including but not limited to relinquishing and restoring the control and powers vested in the applicant as managing director of the 2nd respondent pending the determination of the motion on notice,” the injunction reads in part.
When contacted, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, George Ossai, told PREMIUM TIMES he was not aware of the court order.
“I am not aware of any court order,” Mr. Ossai said.
Attempts to speak to Mr. Al-Amin on the matter failed as calls to his mobile telephone failed to connect. A text messages to his phone has yet to be responded to.
But a source in the bank, who cannot be named because he is not authorised to speak on the issue, confirmed that Mr. Al-Amin is aware of the court order.