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A Federal High Court in Lagos Wednesday convicted the Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Ibukun Awosika, and Managing Director, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, as well as the bank for contempt.
The court dismissed their preliminary objection to a contempt charge filed against them by the Ejama-Ebubu community in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The court found them guilty of refusal of the bank to release N17bn and interests that First Bank allegedly guaranteed to pay the community on behalf of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited.
The bond is in respect of the judgment debt against SPDC in an oil spill suit filed by the community.
Justice Ibrahim Buba, however, suspended the sentencing for three months to enable the bank and its officials to purge themselves of the contempt.
The judge said if the convicts failed to purge themselves of the contempt by September 6, they would be sent to prison. Justice Buba, who heard the case while sitting in Port Harcourt, awarded N17bn to the community’s representatives in 2010, as well as 25 per cent interest on the principal sum, among other reliefs.
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