Lagos car dealer, Dilly Motors Limited has denied the syndicated news reports that two of its bank accounts were ordered frozen by a Bayelsa State High Court pending a police criminal investigation.
In a one-page statement dated 23rd July, 2020 issued by its lawyers, Auxano Law, signed by the Managing Counsel of the law firm, Mr. Chijioke Emeka, Dilly Motors described the news reports as “false, malicious, and calculated to lower our client in the estimation of right-thinking members of the society generally, and contemptuous of the Honourable Court.”
It would be recalled that on 19th July, 2020, several online media outfits carried a news report with a common headline “N2.5bn Vehicle Contract: Court Freezes Accounts of Dilly Motors”, alleging that following police investigation, Hon. Justice Ebiyerin Omukoro of the Sagbama Division granted an ex parte order to the Commissioner of Police freezing Dilly Motors accounts. The story was also on the News bar of a major television station for most part of Monday, 20th July, 2020.
Dilly Motors noted that no such order was granted in the ex parte application filed by the Police in Suit No. SHC/11M/2020 on 13th July, 2020. Rather, the Court ordered the Applicant to put Dili Motors on notice and subsequently granted prayers 2 of the Police Application which is seeking an order of court mandating Dili Motos to produce evidence of account opening and details of account statement.
According to Dilly Motor’s lawyer, “the police purported to be investigating a petition by the law firm of one Moses Oruaze Dickson, said to be a younger brother to former Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, Oruaze using ‘Solalina Mass Transport Ltd’ entered into an agreement for 10 per cent cut from car supplies by Dilly Motors which ended in a civil dispute. It was that purely contractual dispute that the police were used in the attempt to freeze Dilly Motors’ bank accounts just “to make a statement”.
Justice Omukoro while granting police access to statements and account opening forms, ordered that Dilly Motors be served with the ex parte application within 48 hours to enable the car dealer be heard on the prayer for freezing order, stating thus: “I am minded to direct that the 1st Respondent should be put on notice as to order/prayer 1 of the application herein”. The application was then adjourned to 27th July, 2020 for hearing. The statement averred that the Police never served the application as ordered by the Court.
Condemning the practice of planting of false court proceedings in the press and the complainant’s desperation to criminalize a contractual dispute, the statement added that before Solalina got the police into the failed attempt to obtain freezing orders, it had filed a suit for breach of contract against Dilly Motors in Suit No. YHC/108/2020 before Justice I. T. Cocodia in the Yenagoa Division. The attempt by Solalina to freeze the same accounts on 9th July, 2020 through an ex parte Mareva Injunction was rebuffed by Cocodia J. who also ordered that Dilly Motors must first be heard. The next day (10th July, 2020), the police filed Suit No. SHC/11M/2020 in Sagbama Division seeking a freezing order which was heard on 13th July, 2020, and similarly refused. “We have instructions to sue those behind the malicious falsehood including media houses”.
Attached below is the enrolled order of court supporting Dilly Motor’s claim