Whether the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to try the offence of issuing a dud cheque
"Whether the lower Court had jurisdiction to adjudicate on the 1st Respondent's suit considering the subject matter of the case? Upon a careful consideration of the subject matter of this suit, it is obvious that the main reason the 1st Respondent was reported to the 2nd Respondent is that she issued a dud cheque to the Appellant. The Appellant categorically deposed to this fact in paragraphs 23 and 24 of its counter affidavit as follows: - 23: The 1st Respondent's solicitor after several months, were constrained to write a petition to the 2nd Respondent to investigate Minje-Se and its directors, including the Applicant, for the issuance of dud cheques and for fraud perpetuated on the 1st Respondent. The petition is exhibited herewith as "EXHIBIT RMA7". 24: That in furtherance of the 1st Respondent's Solicitors' letter, the Applicant and her husband were invited by the 2nd Respondent's officials but was never arrested or detained. They admitted the substance of the petition and undertook again to repay the outstanding balance of the wholesale microfinance fund which the husband personally guaranteed. The outstanding balance of the facility at this point was N16,086,956.53K....." ?The 2nd Respondent confirmed this state of affairs in its counter affidavit on pages 61 to 70 of the record of appeal where it was deposed in paragraphs 5(a) and (m) thus: - "5(a) That the 2nd Respondent received a petition on the 3rd day of March, 2012 from the 1st Respondent written on its behalf by Global Law Firm. The said petition is hereby attached and marked as Exhibit EFCC 1". "(m) That preliminary investigation into the alleged complaint also revealed that Exhibit EFCC 2a and 2b were returned unpaid by United Bank for Africa, UBA, as a result of inadequate funds standing to the credit of Minje-Se Churchill Microfinance Bank Ltd. A copy of the statement of account of Churchill Microfinance Bank Ltd. on which the UBA account was drawn, particularly the portions underlined is hereby attached and marked as Exhibit EFCC 6.' Therefore the submission that the Federal High Court has no jurisdiction over this suit is not the position of the law. This is so because the offence allegedly committed by the 1st Respondent of issuing a dud cheque is contrary to Section 3 of the Dishonored Cheques (Offences) Act, Cap D 11, LFN, 2004. Also the 2nd Respondent is a Federal Government Parastatal or Agency which confers jurisdiction on the Federal High Court as held, by the Apex Court in ABSIEC V. KANU (Supra) at page 83 paragraphs D - H. that: - "Irrespective of the nature of the claim once any of the parties before the State High Court is the Federal Government or any of its agencies, the state High Court loses jurisdiction. It is the Federal High Court by virtue of Section 251 of the Constitution and the interpretation given by this Court to that Section or other related sections or statutes that can lawfully exercise jurisdiction thereon." Per I. T. MUHAMMAD JSC. It is my finding therefore that the 1st Respondent was right by commencing this suit and ventilating her grievance before the Federal High Court. The submission by learned counsel to the appellant and the authorities cited and relied upon are hereby discountenanced by me. This issue is resolved in favour of the 1st Respondent."
Per SANGA, J.C.A. IN RIVERS STATE MICROFINANCE AGENCY v. MRS. DIALABA S. D. ISOKARIARI & ANOR (2018) LPELR-44863(CA)