Firm directors appeal against GTB debt recovery judgment
The directors of an Ogun State-based steel rolling company, BSS Steel Rolling Mill Limited, have appealed the judgment of a Federal High Court in Lagos which barred them from accessing the funds standing to the company’s credit in various banks until a debt of N346, 798,405.95 is fully repaid to Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB).
Justice Ibrahim Buba, who entered judgment in favour of GTB in a debt recovery suit on October 23, 2015, also restrained the directors from obstructing Mr. Norrison Quakers (SAN) in the discharge of his duty as the receiver/manager appointed by GTB over the assets of BSS Steel Rolling Mill Limited.
But displeased with Buba’s judgment, the directors of BSS have gone before the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal seeking to upturn the decision.
In the two-ground notice of appeal, the directors, through their counsel, C.O.I. Joseph (SAN), contended that Buba erred in law when he refused to declare the suit before him as an abuse of court processes in the face of a suit numbered LD/06/2012 still pending before a Lagos State High Court.
The appellants argued that the suit which Buba adjudicated upon “pre-assumes that counter-claims before the High Court of Lagos State had been decided in favour of the respondents when it has not.”
The appellants also contended that Buba erred in law when he assumed jurisdiction over the case and went on to deliver judgment rather than decline jurisdiction and dismiss the suit.
“The learned trial judge, in granting the reliefs herein (which are declaratory in nature) usurped the role of the Lagos State High Court in determining an alleged indebtedness of N346,798,405.96k, despite the admonition of the Supreme Court in N.I.M. Bank Ltd V. Union Bank Ltd (2004) 4 SC (Pt.1) 143 at 156-158, which was made available to his lordship”, the appellants stated.
“The assumption of jurisdiction by the learned trial judge and the granting of the reliefs herein have occasioned a miscarriage of justice on the appellant when the High Court of Lagos State has yet to determine who, between the 1st plaintiff and the 3rd plaintiff, is owing the other and by how much,” the appellants argued.
Meanwhile, they have also filed an application for stay of execution of Justice Buba’s judgment pending the determination of their appeal.