Firm urges court to dismiss Stanbic IBTC’s application in NI.3b judgment debt
An indigenous financial firm, Longterm Global Capital Limited has urged a Federal High Court, Lagos to dismiss the application filed by Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc seeking to stay the execution of the judgment sum of N1.3billion awarded against it in favour of Longterm.
The firm and three others, namely, Lakeside Mews Limited, Mr. Patrick Akinkuotu and Mrs. Oluyinka Akinkuotu had filed an action in 2012 against the bank and Starcomms Plc, praying for the rescission of the contract of the purchase of Starcomms shares by way of private placement which was offered to the applicants in 2008 by IBTC.
The applicants had sought the rescission of the share purchase on account of fraudulent representation by the respondents.
The applicants also prayed for an order directing the respondents to refund the total purchase amount of N1.3billion collected from them as payment for the said shares with interest at the rate of 18 percent per annum from the payment date till the date of judgment and thereafter at the rate of 10 percent per annum until the date of final liquidation of the judgment debt.
On December 14, 2015, judgment was delivered in favour of the applicants. In the judgment, Justice John Tsoho ordered the respondents among others, to refund the money earlier collected from the applicants with pre-judgment interest at the rate of 18 percent per annum from May 5, 2008 and post-judgment interest at the rate of 10 percent per annum from December 14, 2015 until final liquidation of the judgment debt. Dissatisfied, the respondents appealed against the decision.
Notwithstanding, the applicants through their counsel, Chief Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN) started the process of enforcing the judgment, which he claimed has risen to over N5billion through a garnishee proceedings.
In order to allegedly preserve the res, the respondents through their counsel, Olaniwun Ajayi (LP) filed a motion praying Justice Mojisola Olatoregun-Ishola to stay the execution of the judgment, pending the determination of its appeal. They also want an order restraining the judgment creditors from commencing the garnishee proceedings.
On Friday, Dr. K.U.K Ekwueme representing the judgment debtor argued that there is need for parties to maintain status quo until final determination of the appeal.
He insisted that there is no reasonable probability that the applicant would pay back the judgment sum in the event that their appeal succeeds.
Ekwueme further argued that grant of stay is discretionary and that the circumstance of the case is such that requires a successful party being deprived the fruit of its judgment.
He stated that the refusal to stay execution will foist on the court of appeal a situation of complete helplessness and render it’s decision nugatory if it is made in their favour.
But Fagbohungbe in his response urged the court to dismiss the motion for stay. He maintained that there is no special or exceptional circumstances warranting the grant of the application.
According to him, the application raised no recondite, novel, important or substantial issues of law or special and peculiar circumstances.
He said the Supreme Court had settled the issue that judgment debtors that are banks cannot keep the money. He stated that the judgment creditor has the capacity to refund the money ‘in the unlikely event’ the appeal go against them.
“If the judgment debtors are banks, they cannot keep the money. He has not satisfied all the requirements in law that warrants stay of execution”, he argued and urged the court to rule in his favour.
The court will give it’s decision on June 23.
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