The Federal High Court in Lagos, presided over by Hon. Justice Liman, rendered a decision in favour of Honeywell Flour against the bank and ordered it to pay N72 billion. Ecobank Nigeria Limited has indicated it will appeal the decision.
The bank said that the judgement would not hold up in the long run, but it added that it “will vigorously challenge same, and remains confident that it can reverse this judgement at the higher courts.”
According to sources from the bank, the current lawsuit was brought in 2018 to enforce the bank’s pledge to pay damages in response to its winding-up petition and the Ex-Parte Orders that were granted in the bank’s favour.
It said, “We challenged the action through a Notice of Preliminary Objection dated 16th October, 2018 whereby we challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, as (among other reasons), the action did not fall within the provisions of Section 251 (d) of the Constitution, being that the subject matter of the suit was for the claim of damages arising out of an Ex-Parte Order, as opposed to a banker-customer relationship.
“Trial was concluded in this matter since 9th March, 2021 and the parties adopted their final written addresses alongside our notice of preliminary objection on the 16th March, 2022, the court then adjourned the matter to 27th May, 2022 for judgment. While the court failed to deliver judgment on the said date, the registrar of the court promised to inform counsel whenever the judgement was ready.
“In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in the bank’s favour, in Suit No. SC/CV/210/2021 which was delivered on 27th January 2023, the bank further filed a motion on notice dated 9th March, 2023 to dismiss the suit on the grounds that same has become academic as a result of the judgment entered in favour of Ecobank wherein the Supreme Court held that Honeywell remained indebted to the bank.”
It added that, “The court heard motion dated 9th March, 2023 and adjourned to 23th June, 2023 for ruling on our two applications and also for delivery of judgment. The court consequently delivered the said ruling/judgment today July 18 via a virtual proceeding at about 4pm. In its judgment, the court dismissed the two applications we filed, holding that it has jurisdiction to entertain the suit and also that the suit had not become academic.”