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Contempt: Lagos bizman asks court to hands off case

By Abdulwahab Abdulah

A businessman, Dr. Ambrose Orjiako, has asked Justice Hadiza Rabiu-Shagari to withdraw from the hearing of the suit between AOS Orwell Limited and his company, Shebah Exploration and Product Limited.

Orjiako also informed the court of his appeal against the bench warrant issued against him by the court, saying until the appeal is heard and determined, the court ought to stay action in the hearing of the present action.

Making submission before Justice Rabiu-Shagari on Monday, Orjiakor’s lawyer, O. Opasanmi (SAN), said proceeding with the matter, while the appeal is pending, would amount to destroying the res of his appeal.

Opasanmi said: “I wish to inform the court the step taken between last hearing date till today (Monday). The step is for the court to stand down the proceedings, and focus on the winding up petition.

“The record of appeal is on its way to Court of Appeal, and there is a pending application from the respondent to the court’s Chief Judge that the case be transferred to another court.

“In the light of the development, I urged the court to freeze proceedings in relations to alleged contempt, and give the alleged contemnor to ventilate his right at Appeal Court. The court should deal with winding up proceedings, while Appeal Court deals with the issue of contempt.”

Apart from the appeal, Orjiako has also filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the winding up petition.

Lawyer to the petitioner, Mr. Kunle Ogunba (SAN), however, admitted that he is yet to serve the alleged contemnor the court order, as he is yet to obtain the Certified True Copy, CTC, of the order due to administrative bottleneck.

He asked the court for an adjournment to enable him to get the CTC of the order and serve the respondent.

The matter was then adjourned till January 22.

 


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