IN THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA
IN THE LAGOS JUDICIAL DIVISION
HOLDEN AT LAGOS
BEFORE HIS LORDSHIP, HON. JUSTICE IKECHI GERALD NWENEKA
DATE: 30th January 2020 SUIT NO. NICN/LA/78M/2019
MR. AXEL BEERENS … JUDGMENT CREDITOR/APPLICANT
1. KEYSODE NIGERIA LIMITED
2. QUALICONSULT UNIQUE CONCEPT LIMITED … JUDGMENT
3. DEKEY GLOBAL CONCEPT LIMITED DEBTORS
1. ACCESS BANK PLC
2. FIDELITY BANK PLC … GARNISHEES
3. FIRST CITY MONUMENT BANK PLC
4. ZENITH BANK PLC
1. By garnishee order nisi made on 21st November 2019, the garnishees were ordered to show cause why they should not pay to the judgment creditor the debt due from them to the judgment debtors or so much thereof as may be sufficient to satisfy the judgment debt together with interest and costs. The garnishees filed their respective affidavits to show cause. Upon receipt of the affidavits, the judgment creditor filed a counter affidavit challenging the affidavits to show cause filed by the garnishees.
2. The application came up on 15th January 2020 for hearing. Mr. Ibitayo, learned counsel for the 5th and 7th garnishees relied on the affidavits to show cause filed on behalf of the garnishees and explained that the 3rd judgment debtor is indebted to the 5th garnishee while the judgment debtors’ accounts with the 7th garnishee are in credit. He urged the court to discharge the 5th garnishee and make the order nisi absolute in respect of the 7th garnishee. Mr. Opara, learned counsel for the 1st garnishee relied on the 1st garnishee’s affidavit to show cause dated 13th December 2019 and urged the Court to make the order nisi absolute for the sums disclosed. Aliyu-Dauda Esq. counsel for the 18th garnishee adopted the affidavit to show cause filed on behalf of the 18th garnishee and explained that the accounts of the 1st and 3rd judgment debtors are in debit while the account of the 2nd judgment debtor is in credit and she would not object to the order nisi being made absolute in respect of the 2nd judgment debtor.
Gbobo Esq. relied on the judgment creditor’s counter affidavits dated 14th January 2020 and the attached written addresses. In respect of the 1st garnishee she relied on paragraphs 6 and 7 of the counter affidavit. In respect of the 5th garnishee she relied on paragraphs 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the counter affidavit. As it relates to the 18th garnishee, she relied on paragraphs 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the counter affidavit and urged the Court to direct the 1st, 5th and 18th garnishees to file a further affidavit showing the status of the accounts from 21st November 2019 to 14th December 2019.
3. I have carefully read the affidavits to show cause filed by the garnishees with the attached summary of account and the counter affidavits of the judgment creditor and the supporting written addresses. It is evident from the summary of accounts of the judgment debtors attached to the affidavits of the 1st, 5th and 18th garnishees that they have not complied with the order of the Court. The document attached to the affidavit to show cause filed by the 1st garnishee is titled “Summary Statement for Dekey Global Concept Ltd” and was for “26 Nov. 2019 to 12 Dec. 2019”. The documents attached to the affidavits of the 5th and 18th garnishees are similar. Clearly, the attached summary of accounts did not give a true view of the accounts of the judgment debtors and give the impression that the garnishees have something to hide. In Central Bank of Nigeria v. Interstella Communication Ltd. & Ors.  12 SC [pt.IV] 97 at 183, Ogunbiyi, J.S.C., reiterated the age-long principle on the status of the garnishee in a garnishee proceeding. The learned law lord posited that:
“The role of a garnishee in any garnishee proceeding is delimited. … Basically, the restrictive role and legal duty of a garnishee in a judgment enforcement proceeding is to conscientiously and truthfully appear before the court in order to disclose … the judgment debtor’s state of account in its custody….it is not the business of a garnishee to undertake to play the role of an advocate for a judgment debtor by trying to shield and protect the money of the judgment debtor….”
It is in this light that I consider the counter affidavits of the judgment creditor. The garnishees are under a legal duty to present detail statements of accounts of the judgment debtors from receipt of the order up till the time of filing the affidavits.
In the circumstance, the objection of the judgment creditor to the affidavits to show cause filed by the 1st, 5th and 18th garnishees succeeds. The 1st, 5th and 18th garnishees are hereby ordered to file a further affidavit attaching detail statements of accounts of the judgment debtors with their respective banks duly certified by the relevant account officers. The garnishee order nisi is hereby made absolute against the 7th garnishee for the sums of $37.64 in Account no. 3931806014 maintained by the 1st judgment debtor; $34.07 in Account no. 3930559014 and 22.24 Euro in Account no. 3930559021 maintained by the 2nd judgment debtor and $94.55 in Account no. 2835247026, 66.64 Euro in Account no. 2835247033 and
N245.35 in Account no. 2835247019 maintained by the 3rd judgment debtor.
Ruling is entered accordingly.
IKECHI GERALD NWENEKA