Wrongful Dismissal: Emefiele, Permanent Secretary Risk Jail Term | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Wrongful Dismissal: Emefiele, Permanent Secretary Risk Jail Term

Posted: Jul 5, 2015 at 8:26 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Joe Nwankwo, Abuja

The Central Bank Governor (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, and the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance risk being committed to prison except they comply with a Garnished Order Absolute made by Justice M. N. Esowe of the National Industrial Court on May 20, 2015.

They were ordered by the National Industrial Court to pay one ASP Jerome Eze over N67 million for wrongful termination of his appointment as a Police officer without due process, loss of earning and the insults heaped on him.

Already, Form 48 (Notice of Consequences of Disobedience to Court Order) made pursuant to Order ix, Rule 13 of the court in the matter, which makes Emefiele and the ?permanent secretary “guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison”.

The Registrar of the court, Omeiza Kabiru,  had directed Samson Akinfenwa, to serve the notice to the two government officials which he did on June 3, 2015.

The crux of the matter arose when one Jerome Eze, a Police officer on the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), with Force No: AP11718 in suite no: NINC/ABJ/CV/309/2012 filed a petition against a dismissal letter P11718/FS/15 signed by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) “though the letter did not disclose any offence”.

He also claimed that at no time was he issued any query nor did he face any disciplinary panel as required by law, which was why the dismissal letter not only “breached his contract of employment, but caused him a lot of trauma, odium and social deprivation as a result of the wrongful dismissal”.

Approaching the court through Barrister Austin Uzendu, of the Appostle and Proxy Solicitors, Eze asked the court to quash the dismissal, reinstate him and order payment of over N100 million as punitive and exemplary ?damages and loss of earnings from the date of his dismissal.

He filed a motion on notice dated November 23, 2012 under Order 10, Rule 1 of the NIC Rules, supported by a 23-paragraph affidavit deposed to by the claimant (Eze), to which the defendants replied through a motion seeking to dismiss? the said suit for want of jurisdiction.

President of the NIC, Justice B. A. Adejumo, who heard the motion, dismissed same as lacking in merit and ordered that the matter should proceed to trial on merit.

On November 1st, 2013, after several prevarication by the defendants, the court heard a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Order 10, Rule 1 of the court order which empowers the court to do so, where the claimant believes that the defendant has no defence to the claim, especially as the defendants did not respond to the affidavit evidence of the claimant.

Justice E. D. E. Isele, who presided over the main issue, in his judgment, ordered the reinstatement of ASP Eze? and elevated to a rank commensurate with his peers and payment of N57,742,300 representing loss of earning/salaries and other entitlements from March, 1996 when he was wrongfully dismissed.

In addition, the court awarded N10 million as “damages against the defendants for breach of contract, trauma, odium and social deprivation suffered by the claimant” as well as additional “N10,000 costs against the defendants”.

Based on the delay in effecting the damages, Eze subsequently filed an application for garnished order nisi, which was ?granted on March 27, 2015, while Justice M. N. Esowe made the order absolute on May 20, 2015.

In spite of the orders and judgment of the court, the CBN Governor and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance refused to pay the damages, which led to the proceedings by filing Form 48.