Ecobank Nigeria Limited has announced its intention to appeal a recent judgment delivered by the Federal High Court in Lagos, presided over by Hon. Justice Liman.
The judgment ruled in favor of Honeywell Flour and ordered the bank to pay the sum of N72 billion.
The bank firmly believes that the judgment is unjust and will not withstand the scrutiny of time. Ecobank is determined to vigorously challenge the ruling and remains confident that it can successfully overturn the decision in higher courts.
According to sources within the bank, the lawsuit in question was initiated in 2018 to enforce the Bank’s Undertaking as to Damages, which was filed in connection with its Winding Up Petition and the Ex-Parte Orders that were granted in the bank’s favor.
“We challenged the action through a Notice of Preliminary Objection dated 16th October, 2018 whereby we challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, as (among other reasons), the action did not fall within the provisions of Section 251 (d) of the Constitution, being that the subject matter of the suit was for the Claim of Damages arising out of an Ex-Parte Order, as opposed to a Banker-Customer relationship. Trial was concluded in this matter since 9th March, 2021 and the parties adopted their final written addresses alongside our Notice of Preliminary objection on the 16th March, 2022, the Court then adjourned the matter to 27th May, 2022 for judgment. While the court failed to deliver judgment on the said date, the registrar of the court promised to inform counsel whenever the judgement was ready”.
“In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Bank’s favour, in Suit No. SC/CV/210/2021 which was delivered on 27th January 2023, the bank further filed a Motion on notice dated 9th March, 2023 to dismiss the Suit on the grounds that same has become academic as a result of the judgment entered in favour of Ecobank wherein the Supreme Court held that Honeywell remained indebted to the Bank. The Court heard motion dated 9th March, 2023 and adjourned to 23th June, 2023 for ruling on our two applications and also for delivery of judgment. The Court consequently delivered the said ruling/judgment today July 18 via a virtual proceeding at about 4pm. In its Judgment, the Court dismissed the two applications we filed, holding that it has jurisdiction to entertain the suit and also that the suit had not become academic”.
As per the bank’s statement, the Court’s judgment was reached disregarding several crucial points presented by them. These points included evidence that the Ex-Parte Orders were legally discharged and not obtained frivolously by the Bank.
Also, it was highlighted that the duration of the Ex-Parte Order was less than two weeks, contradicting Honeywell’s claim of it covering a three-year period. The documents provided by Honeywell, particularly the annual returns, were asserted to lack evidence of the alleged damage, thus suggesting the damage was non-existent.
Moreover, documents from other Banks served with the ex-parte order demonstrated that Honeywell companies were significantly indebted to those Banks. This indicated that the Ex-Parte Orders could not have frozen funds in the said Banks, challenging Honeywell’s position. The Court’s refusal to address objections concerning the allegedly maliciously prepared documents by Honeywell for the purpose of instituting the Suit and claiming unjustifiable sums from the Bank was also emphasized.
The bank reiterated its affiliation with the Ecobank Group, a Pan-African Bank committed to transparency in all the countries of operation, and adherence to laws and regulations. They believe that the matter should be conclusively determined following the appropriate judicial process.