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Honeywell’s N72.2bn judgement can’t stand test of time–Ecobank

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Ecobank Nigeria Limited has insisted that it would appeal the judgment of a Federal High Court in Lagos which ordered it to pay Honeywell Group N72.2 billion billion over an illegal ex-parte order obtained by the bank against the manufacturer.

The ruling, delivered on Tuesday by Justice Mohammed Liman, brought an end to a longstanding legal battle between the flour milling company and the bank.

Justice Liman, who presided over the case, granted the requests of Honeywell Flour against Ecobank in the legal battle that started after the lender refused the manufacturer access to its accounts in 2015.

Honeywell Flour’s accounts were frozen in November 2015 when Ecobank secured an ex parte order, which was granted on the condition that the financial institution will compensate the former for harm or loss caused by the action.

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Ecobank had shut Honeywell Flour out of their accounts in an attempt to wind up the latter over an alleged outstanding debt owed by the manufacturer.

The bank in a statement noted that the judgment cannot stand the test of time, saying it would vigorously challenge the same and remain confident that it can reverse this judgment at the higher courts.

According to the bank, the instant suit was an action filed in 2018 for the enforcement of the Bank’s Undertaking as to Damages which was filed in pursuance of its Winding Up Petition and the Ex-Parte Orders which were granted in favour of the Bank.

“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.

The trial was concluded in this matter on 9th March 2021 and the parties adopted their final written addresses alongside our Notice of Preliminary objection on 16th March 2022, the Court then adjourned the matter to 27th May 2022 for judgment.

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“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 because the 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 bank reiterated that it is a member of the Ecobank Group, the Pan-African Bank which is proudly and fully committed to transparency in all the countries where it operates and abides by laws and regulations.

Recall that Ecobank alleged Honeywell Group, former owner of Honeywell Flour, owes the company N13.5 billion, as outstanding debt.

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