COVID-19 pandemic disrupted payment plan, says Okocha’s counsel
A generator repair and serviceman, Abraham Imuse, has appealed to the government and the law-enforcement agencies to help in recovering the sum of N887,000 from the chairman of Michelle Nigeria Limited, Mr Peter Eloka Okocha, after courts’ verdicts.
Imuse said in spite of the Magistrates’ and high courts judgments ordering Okocha and his firm to pay the sum, Delta State-based Okocha had repeatedly refused to pay the debt, which has accrued to millions of naira through interest as ordered by the court.
Meanwhile, when The Guardian contacted Okocha’s counsel, Emma Etiuzalle, he agreed that his client was yet to pay Imuse the debt, adding that COVID-19 disrupted the payment plan.
Narrating his ordeal to The Guardian, Imuse said Okocha had engaged him for many years to do his power generators services and repairs at his home and for his company, as well as purchase and supply of parts in which Okocha paid for the services until 2017.
Imuse explained: “In February 2017, when I serviced his generating set, the money amounted to N887,000 and I kept asking him for the money both orally and in writing through SMS, which he acknowledged receiving but have since refused to pay.”
Worried after failed attempts to recover his money, Imuse took the case to the Lagos Magistrates’ Court sitting in Ogba. The magistrate, O.A. Akokhia, after hearing the proceedings on December 20, 2018, ordered Okocha and his company to pay Imuse the sum of N887,000 and interest of 10 per cent per month from February 1, 2017 till total liquidation of the debt.
Not satisfied with the judgment, Okocha filed for an appeal on February 12, 2019 at the High Court of Lagos sitting in Ikeja, as well as a stay-of-execution order of the judgment of the Magistrates’ Court.
The judge, Justice Y.R. Pinheiro, on November 12, 2019 dismissed Okocha’s appeal for want of diligent prosecution and ordered Okocha to pay N50,000 to Imuse.
Okocha’s lawyer, Etiuzalle, called for negotiation of the judgment sum after the accrued interest had risen to about N3 million. It has been a stalemate since then after an advance of N200,000 was paid.
Etiuzalle, however, advised Imuse to approach the court for an execution of the judgment rather than going to the press, adding that if his client’s name is destroyed, Imuse would pay for injuries.
He said: “The judgment was against my client and his company. We have made advance payment, but the COVID-19 disrupted many activities and is delaying the payment. We have been reviewing the payment terms. I don’t know why he went to the press?”