Group Seeks Supreme Court Order to Restrain Chevron, Keystone Bank from Releasing Funds to Itsekiri Regional Derivation Committee

By Iduozee Paul, Benin Correspondent A legal practitioner, Peter O. lyhiokhai acting on behalf of his  colleagues has filed a  motion for a stall

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By Iduozee Paul, Benin Correspondent

A legal practitioner, Peter O. lyhiokhai acting on behalf of his  colleagues has filed a
 motion for a stall of execution  order in the Supreme Court seeking to restrain Chevron, Keystone Bank and other  concerned bodies from having any financial transaction with the Itsekiri Regional Derivation Development (IRDC), on grounds of  alleged financial fraud and embezzlement.
lyhiokhai’ while processing the motion of stall of execution at the  Appeal Court in Benin City, Edo state, said the non- execution of vital projects in the communities where the oil company is sited led to the filing of the suit..

 “The reason why we filed a suit against IRDC, Chevron and Keystone Bank is in respect of the money accrued to ltsekiri Regional Development, the body set up over the years to bring development to these oil communities. The IRDC has been misusing the money of the oil rich communities. They will earmark projects for themselves, and those projects will not be executed. Many projects are abandoned and they siphoned the resources, they set up fake companies and they put those projects under the name of these fake firms.”

 “At the end of the day, no projects were executed. They squandered and looted the money. so the whole place was in a big mess and squalor, nothing to account for. Based on all these we went to court. People like Chief Rita Olori, one of the claimants sued them.”

 “In September 2017, we got an interim injunction to restrain Chevron from having any financial dealings with IRDC members. We were able to track down some money in their account worth N2.1 billion naira by way of court order restraining them from collecting the money. At the end of the day the court granted another order on February 20, 2018, making the court order an interlocutory order, pending the determination of a substantive suit. Yet, Chevron still went ahead to start having financial dealings with IRDC members, by paying them money despite the court order.

“We equally commenced commuter proceedings against them. The commuter proceeding is on in Warri High Court. We are expected to appear before the court on February 4, 2019, for the court to take a decision. Then, we now heard that, IRDC went and filed a motion in the Appeal Court. They said they served us with the copy of that motion in an Appeal Court for a stall of execution.

“I am one of the lawyers in the case. L did not get any hearing notice, and my other colleagues said  they did not get the hearing notice too. So, the court granted their reliefs in the Appeal court, l and my colleagues were not in court when they served the hearing notice.

 “What they want to do now is to circumvent the court order in the Warri High Court by aborting the commuter- proceedings at the same time try to see if they can grab the N2.1 billion in the bank. We on our own, have filed a notice of an appeal, appealing to the Supreme Court in respect of the order we were granted on January 24, 2019. We have equally filed a motion for a stall of execution of the court order granted by the Appeal Court,” Barrister Peter said.

According to him, five defendants are behind the legal case.