A Lagos State High Court sitting in Osborne on Thursday renewed its order compelling the police to produce a N15,541,350,000.00 judgment debtor in a suspected Ponzi scheme, Bamise Ajetunmobi, on Friday, February 3.
Justice Taofiquat Oyekan-Abdullahi also summoned an Investigative Police Officer (IPO) Mr. Aliyu of the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID) Alagbon, Lagos, for failing to produce Ajetunmobi on Thursday, contrary to the court’s order
Bamise, who is in FCID custody believed by the claimants to have been arrested in Côte d’Ivoire while trying to board a flight to the UK.
He and his wife Elizabeth and two firms linked to them, Imagine Global Holding Company Ltd and Imagine Global Solutions Ltd were in October 2021 sued for defrauding some Nigerian investors to the tune of over N18.8billion.
The couple was accused of fleeing the country afterwards.
In July 2022, the investors obtained a court judgment in their favour, ordering the couple and their companies to pay back N15,541,350,000 with interest.
The whereabouts of the couple remained unknown, but following reports of Bamise’s arrest in Côte d’Ivoire and detention by the Nigerian Police, counsel to the judgment creditors Mr. Adetunji Adedoyin-Adeniyi filed a motion ex parte to compel his appearance in court.
The judge granted the order and adjourned till yesterday for the police to produce Ajetunmobi.
But it failed to do so.
At the commencement of proceedings yesterday, Adedoyin-Adeniyi applied for the judge to issue a bench warrant on the judgment debtor.
An angry Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi warned the police of the consequences of their failure to comply with the court’s order.
Adedoyin-Adeniyi said: “I humbly wish to make an application that the court issue a warrant of arrest against the third judgment debtor, Bamise Ajetunmobi and for the police to ensure he is taken to prison until the next adjourned date.”
Counsel to 2nd set of judgment creditors, Kolade Olawuni, supported the application.
“This lack of appearance is a disrespect both by the judgment debtor and the police.
He has been in police custody for more than four weeks which is not in furtherance of any court order. He will be granted bail and allowed to jump bail, hence our application that his attendance in court be secured in one of the correctional centers under thr courts jurisdiction, ” he said.
But Ajetunmobi’s counsel, OlaKunle Nathan-Marsh said that his client’ is actually being held under a court order.
“He is in police custody. He is not responsible for his not being here. He has not refused to come. It is the police that has refused to bring him. There is a notice of appeal. There is petition and he is complying with the police to bring out some facts,” Nathan-Marsh said.
Adedoyin-Adeniyi, who objected to the lawyer’s appearance on the ground that the matter is a motion ex parte.
He added that Ajetunmobi is a witness of the court, to answer questions on whether he can pay the judgment debt or not.
“There is no charge against him (Ajetunmobi) in any court of law. No appeal against the court judgment. He should be remanded in Ikoyi Correctional Centre until the next sitting of the court,” Adedoyin-Adeniyi added.
Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi upheld Adedoyin-Adeniyi’s argument.
But judge said: “He (Ajetunmobi) is not here. I have even asked my orderly to check with his colleagues to find out whether they are having challenges with bringing him to court. Up till now, nothing! They disrespected the court by not coming”
“Both the third defendant the AIG & the IPO are in contempt of court. Are they larger than the law? IPO will have to be produced in court at the next adjourned date. He has to tell the court why he didn’t come to court. He is contemptuous of court and he has to face the music. If he loves himself, he better come to court tomorrow. ”
“Fidelity Bank must comply in toto with the court order and the IPO Aliyu of FCIID Alagbon, Lagos shall be present in this court tomorrow to explain why the defendant was not produced and flouting the orders of court. The law shall take its course. ”
“This case is a commercial transaction. If he has anything. Let him come to court to tell the court what he can do. If he doesn’t want to come to court, the law can’t wait for him.”
The judge adjourned the case till Friday 3rd of February for the police and Ajetunmobi to appear.