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Monday, December 14, 2015

MD of ECOBANK, Jibril Aku, May Go To Jail

Ecobank has been accused by Honeywell Flour Mills Plc of disobeying an earlier directive by Justice Mohammed Idris that all parties should maintain status quo and therefore has initiated contempt proceedings against Ecobank Nigeria Limited for which Jibril Aku, Ecobank MD, may go to Jail.
Honeywell recently floored Ecobank before Justice Idris of the Federal High Court Lagos. “The plaintiffs’ claim arose from a banker-customer relationship, as such this court has jurisdiction to entertain the matter,” the judge said. 
He held that Ecobank’s preliminary objection lacked merit and awarded N10,000 cost in the plaintiffs’ favour. Justice Idris adjourned to Monday for hearing of the contempt proceedings.

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.

In a related case before Justice Okon Abang of the same court, Ecobank had, on October 16, filed a motion exparte, praying for an orders 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 restraining Siloam Global Services and Otudeko from removing its funds, investments in all banks and financial institutions or alienating/ disposing their fixed and moveable assets within Nigeria. Justice Abang, however, did not grant the prayers. Rather, he directed Ecobank to put Siloam Global Services and Otudeko on notice. Meanwhile, Otudeko’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), filed a December 7 motion on notice praying the court to strike out the petition and discontinue proceedings in deference to arbitration. 
Olanipekun argued that the court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter. Ecobank’s counsel, Mr. Kunle Ogunba (SAN), argued that the court ought to determine Ecobank’s exparte application of October 16 first. But Olanipekun argued that his clients had given valid reasons to compel the court to determine the challenge to its jurisdiction before determining the bank’s motion exparte.
Source: Caritas Communications

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