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30 Sep 2016

Ecobank vs Otudeko: Appeal Court to rule in bankruptcy case

The Court of Appeal in Lagos has reserved ruling in an appeal by Ecobank Nigeria Limited against the Chairman of Honeywell Group, Dr Oba Otudeko, for an alleged N4.1billion debt.

The bank appealed a ruling by Justice Babs Kuweumi of the Federal High Court in Lagos on a winding-up petition against Otudeko’s companies.

Ecobank said Otudeko failed to defray N4,118,552,765.71 owed it by Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, Siloam Global Services Ltd, and Anchorage Leisures Ltd, which he guaranteed.

The appellant said it granted Otudeko huge concessions, which involved a bullet payment of N3.5 billion, but the respondent allegedly breached the terms.

The bank instituted the bankruptcy suit against Otudeko, but Justice Okon Abang directed the bank to put Otudeko and his companies on notice to enable them show cause as to why the ex-parte applications should not be granted.

However, the judge was transferred to Abuja before he could conclude the case, which was taken over by Justice Kuewumi.

Ecobank’s lawyer Mr Kunle Ogunba (SAN) urged Justice Kuewumi to hear the companies’ preliminary objection together with the bank’s winding-up petition to save time.

But the judge ruled he would hear the debtor’s Motion on Notice to dismiss/strike out the petition before the other applications.

Dissatisfied, the bank appealed. Ecobank urged the Court of Appeal to hold that failure to take all pending applications in the face of Supreme Court decision in Amadi vs NNPC amounts to a miscarriage of justice.

But, Otudeko, through his lawyer Olabode Olanipekun, said the Supreme Court case if Amadi vs NNPC was inapplicable to the case.

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