Law & Human Rights

June 1, 2020

Court fixes June 3 to determine legal representation in receivership suit

Throwing eggs at the glass ceiling

By Jane Echewodo

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos will, on June 3, determine whether or not a firm of legal practitioners, Ken Ahia and Associates, can represent the plaintiffs in the receivership proceedings of the Isolo Power Generation Ltd, IPGL.

IPGL filed a preliminary objection, challenging the competence of the law firm to appear on behalf of the plaintiffs on the ground that their principal is the receiver and the second plaintiff.

The receivership suit was filed by the law firm of Ken Ahia & Associates, seeking the protection of the court for Kenneth Ahia (SAN), to take over the assets of the company as a receiver/manager appointed by the company’s creditor.

Justice Saliu Saidu, after taking arguments from both parties, fixed the date to rule on the prayer by the company asking the court to restrain the law firm from taking any “further step or activity with respect to the properties or assets of the defendant/ applicant (IPGL).”

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Plaintiffs/applicants in the suit are Ecobank Nigeria Limited and Mr Kenneth Ahia(SAN) against Isolo Power Generation Limited as defendant.

Same court had earlier granted leave to the second applicant, Ahia, by virtue of of the Deed of Appointment dated July 1, 2019 registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission, as receiver/manager over the assets (floating &fixed) of the defendant pursuant to the Debenture Trust Deed dated January 23, 2012, empowering the bank to take over and preserve the defendant’s assets wherever it is located.

Besides, the court granted judicial protection to the lawyer appointed by the bank over the assets of the company as well as an order of injunction restraining the defendant and its agents or privies from disposing off or transferring the assets of the company, pending the determination of the motion on notice filed by the creditor bank.

The court also granted an injunction restraining the defendant or its agents within and outside Nigeria from giving any instruction relating to payment or receiving money from banks or companies owned by the defendant, pending the determination of the suit.

However, the company challenged the jurisdiction of the court, arguing that the receiver-manager’s law firm is not entitled to take up the suit in court and is not qualified to represent any of the plaintiffs.

It is observed that the objection is only challenging the competence of the legal representation and not the appointment of the receiver.