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Bank debt: Court rules on contempt suit Jan 15

By Innocent Anaba

Lagos—A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, heard a contempt charge filed against Ecobank Nigeria Limited by Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, Anchorage Leisures Limited and Siloam Global Services Limited. It also adjourned till January 15, 2016 to rule on the suit.

Honeywell and its sister companies  accused the bank of disobeying an earlier directive by the court that all parties should maintain status ante-bellum.

They sued Ecobank over disagreements regarding an alleged debt owed the bank by the group.

But Ecobank’s lawyer Mr Kunle Ogunba, SAN, said the contempt proceedings was a bid to harass and intimidate the bank.

“They are stifling our existence by holding our money. My Lord cannot stifle our right to approach these courts,” he said.

Ogunba said if Ecobank had not sued, it would have been caught by the statute of limitation, adding that it would not sit and watch while it was owed “so much.”

Justice Mohammed Idris had on August 10 made an order of interim injunction restraining the bank from publishing the plaintiffs’ name as debtors.

The judge also ordered parties to maintain status quo pending hearing of the plaintiffs’ suit against Ecobank.

But while the suit was pending, Ecobank filed other suits before other judges in a bid to recover its debt from Honeywell Group and its chairman.

Honeywell, through its counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, filed Form 48 and Form 49, urging the court to hold the bank in contempt.

Arguing the application, yesterday, Olanipekun said the order that status quo be maintained was clear.


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