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 suitagainst IRDC, Chevron and Keystone Bank is in respect of the money accrued toltsekiri Regional Development, the body set up over the years to bring developmentto these oil communities. The IRDC has been misusing the money of the oil richcommunities. They will earmark projects for themselves, and those projects willnot 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 thesefake firms.”
“At the end of the day, no projectswere executed. They squandered and looted the money. so the whole place was ina big mess and squalor, nothing to account for. Based on all these we went tocourt. People like Chief Rita Olori, one of the claimants sued them.”
“In September 2017, we got aninterim injunction to restrain Chevron from having any financial dealings withIRDC members. We were able to track down some money in their account worth N2.1billion 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 asubstantive suit. Yet, Chevron still went ahead to start having financialdealings with IRDC members, by paying them money despite the court order.
“We equally commenced commuter proceedings against them. Thecommuter proceeding is on in Warri High Court. We are expected to appear beforethe court on February 4, 2019, for the court to take a decision. Then, we nowheard that, IRDC went and filed a motion in the Appeal Court. They said theyserved us with the copy of that motion in an Appeal Court for a stall ofexecution.
“I am one of the lawyers in the case. L did not get any hearingnotice, and my other colleagues said they did not get the hearing notice too. So, the court granted theirreliefs in the Appeal court, l and my colleagues were not in court when theyserved the hearing notice.
“What they want to do now is tocircumvent 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 inthe bank. We on our own, have filed a notice of an appeal, appealing to theSupreme Court in respect of the order we were granted on January 24, 2019. Wehave equally filed a motion for a stall of execution of the court order grantedby the Appeal Court,” Barrister Peter said.
According to him, five defendants are behind the legal case.