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Honeywell initiates contempt action against Ecobank




Honeywell Flour Mills Plc has initiated contempt proceedings against Ecobank Nigeria Limited at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The company accused the bank of disobeying an earlier directive by Justice Mohammed Idris that all parties should maintain status quo in a debt dispute between them.

Ecobank had challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the suit filed by Honeywell and its sister companies – Anchorage Leisures Limited and Siloam Global Services Limited.

Dismissing the preliminary objection, Justice Idris held that a cursory glance at the statement of claim shows that the plaintiffs’ claim arose from banking transactions. This, he said, places the suit within the court’s jurisdiction as provided in Section 251 (1)(d) of the 1999 Constitution.
The judge said: “The plaintiffs’ claim arose from a banker-customer relationship, as such this court has jurisdiction to entertain the matter.” He held that Ecobank’s preliminary objection lacked merit and awarded N10,000 cost in the plaintiffs’ favour.
Justice Idris adjourned to Monday December 14 for hearing of the contempt proceedings.

In a sister case before Justice Okon Abang of the same court, Ecobank had, on October 16, filed a motion exparte, praying for an order restraining Siloam Global Services Limited and chairman of Honeywell Group, Dr. Oba Otudeko, from operating or dealing with funds in any bank or financial institution pending the determination of the motion on notice for the appointment of a provisional liquidator or interim receiver.

The bank also sought an order directing and compelling all the banks and financial institutions in which Siloam Global Services and Otudeko have accounts, to furnish Ecobank with their details. It also prayed the court to restrain Siloam Global Services and Otudeko from removing their funds, investments in all banks and financial institutions or alienating/ disposing their fixed and moveable assets within Nigeria.

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