Suit against firm dismissed for abuse of court process
The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has dismissed the suit marked as FHC/L/CP/1689/2015 between Ecobank Nigeria Ltd and Honeywell Flour Mills Plc for constituting an abuse of court process.
Appeal court ruled that the Federal High Court was wrong to have declined to grant an application filed by Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, seeking to dismiss a Winding-Up petition filed by Ecobank Nigeria Limited against it (Honeywell.)
Justice Biobele Georgewill in lead judgment, which was agreed to by other held that the appeal filed by Honeywell through its counsel, Mr. Bode Olanipekun (SAN) has merit and set aside the High Court decision.
Honeywell Flour Mills 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 N3.5billion as the full and final payment of their debt to the bank.
The court however made an order that all parties should maintain status quo in the matter.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 John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Lagos, refused the application and 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 however granted Ecobank’s winding-up petition.
Following Justice Yunusa’s decision granting Ecobank’s 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 counsel, Mr. 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.
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