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Court dismisses Emirate Airlines’ application to stay N50m, $1.6m judgment debt

A federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday, dismissed a motion filed and argued by Emirates Airlines to stay the execution of the judgment of the court, which ordered it to pay $1.630 million and N50 million to an embattled customer, Orji Prince Chu Ikem.

The court had ordered the airline to pay the money to Ikem, a businessman, for the unlawful conversion of his money during a business trip to China.

 Justice Muslim Hassan dismissed the airline’s application for stay of execution of the judgment, for lacking in merit.

Ikem had sued Emirates Airlines for illegally and unlawfully converting his money, totalling $1,630 million, during a business trip from Lagos to China in 2007.

He had consequently asked the court to compel the airline to pay him the monies for the untold hardship he was subjected to as a result of the said illegal and unlawful conversion of his hand luggage that warehoused the said $1, 630 million.

 Emirates Airlines, through its counsel, Chief Awa Kalu (SAN), had denied the allegations and urged the court to dismiss the suit.

But Justice Hassan, after listening to both parties, dismissed the defence put up by the airline and upheld the businessman’s reliefs.

The judge consequently ordered Emirates Airlines to pay the businessman $1.630 million and N50 million.

Dissatisfied with the court’s order, Emirates Airlines, through its counsel, appealed the judgment to the Court of Appeal and also filed an application urging Justice Hassan to stay execution of his order pending the determination of its appeal. 

Arguing the application for stay, Kalu said although his client could pay the money to the judgment creditor, they are afraid that if his client’s appeal succeeds at the Appeal Court, the judgment creditor would not be able to pay back the money.

But counsel for the judgment creditor, Chief Chris Ekemezie, urged the court to dismiss Emirate Airlines’ application for stay.

Citing Section 32 of the rule of the court, Ekemezie asked the court to order the airline to deposit the judgment sum in the Federal High Court’s account pending the determination of the appeal.

He also told the court that the request for his client to make an undertaking was not applicable and added that the airline’s further affidavit was out of time.

 He also argued that further affidavits adduced by the airline are legal opinion, which is an offence to Section 115 of the Evidence Act.

He, therefore, urged the court to strike out the airline’s application to stay for being unmeritorious.

Delivering ruling on the applications yesterday, Justice Hassan, dismissed the airline’s application for stay for lacking in merit.

The judge held that the application had not satisfied the conditions to make the court exercise its discretion in its favour.

“Consequently, the application is lacking in merit and same is accordingly dismissed,” he held.

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