The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos on Monday reserved judgment on the appeal filed by Honeywell Group against a November 18, 2015 ruling of Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court in favour of Ecobank Nigeria Limited.
The appellate court had on February 10, 2016, adjourned to February 22, 2016 for hearing of the appeal.
In his argument, lead counsel to Honeywell, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, prayed the court to vacate the exparte order Justice Yunusa granted in favour of Ecobank because it was an abuse of court process.
According to Olanipekun, Ecobank had approached Justice James Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Lagos seeking far-reaching restraining orders against Honeywell over alleged indebtedness to the bank.
Justice Tsoho heard the exparte application but refused same because of a pending suit before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court filed by Honeywell as well as the fact that the documents attached to the motion showed that the alleged indebtedness was in dispute.
Olanipekun stated that Ecobank was thereafter directed to put Honeywell on notice.
However, instead of putting Honeywell on notice as directed by Justice Tsoho, Ecobank filed another winding up petition before Justice Yunusa in exactly repetitive terms as the one before Justice Tsoho.
Ecobank also tendered the same documents as the ones in the matter before Justice Tsoho for which he had refused to grant the exparte order.
Olanipekun argued that the exparte order which Justice Yunusa subsequently granted to Ecobank contravened Order 4 of winding up rules which states that an exparte injunction cannot be granted in a winding up application.
He therefore prayed the court to vacate the exparte order by Justice Yunusa because it has paralysed the operations of the company and threatened the livelihood of over 5,000 Nigerians employed by Honeywell Flour Mills Plc.
He stated that the company has been subjected to unfair restrictions using the instrumentality of the court. He asked the court to treat the matter as a save our soul (“SOS’’).
Counsel to Ecobank, Mr. Kunle Ogunba opposed the plea and urged the Appeal Court to strike out Honeywell’s appeal.
After hearing arguments and submissions from both counsel, the Justices of the Appeal Court reserved judgment on the matter and stated that a date for ruling would be communicated to both parties.