By Henry Ojelu
LAGOS—THE Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has dismissed a Federal High Court ruling declining to set aside a winding up petition by Ecobank Plc against Honeywell Flour Mills Plc
The court held that the Federal High Court was wrong to have declined to grant an application filed by Honeywell, seeking to dismiss a Winding-Up petition against it by Ecobank Nigeria.
The Appellate Court, in a judgement delivered by Justice Biobele Georgewill and unanimously agreed upon by two other justices, held that the appeal filed by Honeywell through its counsel has merit, and set aside the High Court decision.
Honeywell Plc, Anchorage Leisures Limited and Siloam Global Limited had sued Ecobank in suit No: FHC/L/CS/1219/2015, asking the court to declare that they were no longer indebted to Ecobank, having paid an agreed sum of N3.5 billion, as the full and final payment of their debt to the bank.
Despite the pending suit between the parties, Ecobank proceeded to file a Winding-Up petition against Honeywell on October 16, 2015 in Suit No: FHC/L/CP/1569/2015 along with a Motion Ex-parte, seeking five orders against Honeywell.
But, Justice T. Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Lagos, refused the application, adjourned the case, and directed the Applicant to put Honeywell on notice.
Instead of putting Honeywell on notice as directed by the court, Ecobank on November 9, 2015, filed a subsequent Winding-Up petition against Honeywell before Justice M.N Yunusa in Suit No: FHC/L/CP/1689/2015, over the same subject-matter as the earlier petition.
Justice Yunusa granted Ecobank’s Winding-Up petition.
Following Justice Yunusa’s decision granting Ecobank’s second Winding-Up petition, Honeywell filed a Motion on Notice on November 24, 2015, praying the court to discharge the ex-parte orders and also dismiss the second petition, on the grounds of abuse of court process, amongst others.
Justice Yunusa, in his ruling delivered on December 4, 2015, declined Honeywell’s application, by refusing to vacate all the ex-parte orders and also refused to dismiss Ecobank’s petition.
Dissatisfied with Justice Yunusa’s decision, Honeywell through its lawyer, Bode Olanipekun, SAN, promptly filed a Notice of Appeal on December 14, 2015, asking the Appellate Court to set aside Justice Yunusa’s ruling and dismiss Ecobank’s petition, for being an abuse of the process of court.
The Court of Appeal in a ruling upheld the argument of Honeywell and set aside Justice Yunusu’s earlier ruling.