N26m Supreme Court judgment: Onitsha importer seeks authorization to sell clearing agent’s property in Aba

www.odogwublog.com reports that an Onitsha-based importer and Supreme Court judgement creditor, Gabriel Nwolisah has applied to the Chief Registrar of Abia State judiciary to authorize him to sell a three-storey building located at No. 114 Cameroon Road, Aba, Abia state, belonging to an Aba-based clearing agent and Supreme Court judgement debtor, Paschal Nwabufoh in satisfaction of a $72,200 USD (N26 million) Supreme Court judgement in favour of himself, against Nwabufoh.

The Supreme Court had in its judgement on June 24, 2011, in the Appeal No. SC.211/2003, ordered Nwabufoh to pay Nwolisah  a total sum of $72,200 USD which it calculated at N153 per dollar as at then to arrive at N26 million which was the total cost of a container load of adhesive gum imported into the country by Nwolisah in the 80s and some payments advanced to Nwabufoh to clear and deliver the goods to him then but which he failed to do until the goods were sold auction at the Port Harcourt Wharf.

In the application dated February 10, this year and signed on his behalf, by his legal counsel, Obi Ulasi (SAN), Nwolisah noted that after the Supreme Court judgement, he went to an Onitsha High Court presided over by Justice Pete Obiora and obtained an order to sell the said building to satisfy the Supreme Court judgement (recovery of his N26 million).

He said having obtained the order from Justice Obiora attaching the building for sale and at the same time fixing the date for its sale for October 20, 2014 in satisfaction of the Supreme Court judgement, Nwabufoh headed to Appeal Court, Enugu Division and filed a motion for stay of execution claiming that the building does not belong to him, a situation which frustrated the sale of the building on the afore-stated date.

Nwolisah contended that even when the Appeal Court struck out Nwabufoh's motion for stay on July 2, 2014 for lack of merit and insisted that the building must be sold to satisfy the Supreme Court judgement, he made an application for the sale of the building through an Aba High Court which the court accepted and attached it for sale, Nwabufoh filed another motion for stay of execution on October 3, 2014, still claiming that the attached building is not his property, which lingered for so long as a result of the transfer of Justice Adiele who was presiding over the matter then at the Aba High court.

In the petition, rooted through the Administrator of Aba High Court and entitled: "Application for the sale of No. 114 Cameroon oad, Aba in satisfaction of the Supreme Court judgement in Appeal No. SC.211/2003", the applicant stated that he was relieved of his burden when Justice K. O.  Wosu took over the matter and in his ruling on December 5, 2016, struck out the motion for stay for lack of jurisdiction and upheld the sale of the property because according to him, ruling had already been entered to that effect by the Enugu Appeal Court.

He said he was surprised that shortly after the December 5, 2016 ruling in which Justice Wosu upheld the Enugu Appeal court ruling, Nwabufoh again, filed another motion for stay of execution before the same Justice Wosu, informing the court that he had filed a notice of appeal at the Appeal Court in Owerri.

He said the second motion was heard by Justice Wosu on January 16, this year and in his ruling on January 25, Wosu dismissed the motion again but after the dismissal, Nwabufoh wrote to Aba High Court Administrator advising him not to allow the sale of the building because he had filed another motion for stay at the Owerri Appeal Court.

Relying on the authority of the Supreme Court in Gongola state versus Tukur, Nwolisah argued that the ruling of Justice Wosu of Aba High Court on December 5, 2016 cannot be stayed and that the judgement debtor cannot rely on the motion for stay in the Owerri Appeal Court to foist on the court a stay of the sale of the building, more so when the appeal in the Owerri court is not against the decision that the ruling of December 5, 2016 which stated, among others that the proper venue is the Enugu Appeal Court for any interested party in the property, cannot therefore be stayed.

Nwolisah recalled that he had initially dragged Nwabufoh to an Onitsha High court for a breach of contract when Nwabufoh failed to clear and deliver his container load of adhesive gum on arrival at the Port Harcourt Wharf from Italy, after paying him so much money to do the clearing and delivery as a clearing agent, adding that the matter dragged from the high court to Supreme court which finally awarded him the total cost of N26 million.

N26m Supreme Court judgment: Onitsha importer seeks authorization to sell clearing agent’s property in Aba N26m Supreme Court judgment: Onitsha importer seeks authorization to sell clearing agent’s property in Aba Reviewed by Odogwu Emeka Odogwu on Thursday, March 23, 2017 Rating: 5

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