GARNISHEE PROCEEDINGS- CIRCUMSTANCES THAT WILL WARRANT THE COURT TO ORDER THE GARNISHEE TO SETTLE THE JUDGMENT DEBT
“It is trite that the bank does not own the money in the bank; therefore, it cannot cry more than the bereaved so to speak, it left the lower court no choice but to proceed and make the orders.
In Oceanic Bank Plc v Oladepo & Anor (2012) LPELR – 19670 (CA), this court had an opportunity to address the rising role of the devil’s advocate played by banks in garnishee proceedings, where the court held thus;
“We have stated, several times, that it is not the business of a Garnishee to undertake to play the role of an advocate for a judgment debtor by trying to shield and protect the money of the judgment debtor. Of course, by playing games of hide and seek with the Court, by failing or refusing to depose to affidavit to show cause, disclosing the true account status of the judgment debtor, the Garnishee only exposes itself to trouble, daring the Court to do its worst!, It can therefore be made to pay the debt of the judgment debtor, if the Court has cause to believe that the failure or refusal to show cause is a deliberate attempt to evade a legal duty under the law, to disclose the true state of account of the judgment debtor in its custody. In that situation, the Court will have no other option than to order the Garnishee to settle the judgment debt, believing that the failure or refusal of the Garnishee to show cause is implied admission of the claim of the judgment Creditor/Applicant, that the Garnishee holds the judgment debtor’s money sufficient to satisfy the judgment debt. Therefore, while alleging that the judgment Debtor does not have sufficient money in his account with the Garnishee to satisfy the judgment debt, the Garnishee has a duty to disclose the true status of the account of the judgment debtor, by exhibiting the account statement of the judgment debtor, as at the relevant date indicated on the Garnishee Order Nisi. This is to enable the trial Court to form an independent opinion as to the ability of the Garnishee to satisfy the judgment debt, either in full or in part. Failure to disclose account detail of a judgment debtor by a garnishee (where insufficient money to settle the debt is alleged) readily raises a presumption that the garnishee has something to hide, and that may be presumed against the garnishee, under-Section 167 (d) of the Evidence Act, 2011.”per MBABA , J.C.A (PP. 21-22, PARAS. C-E) by PER A.O.OBASEKI-ADEJUMO, J.C.A in the case of