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N13.5bn judgement debt: Otudeko hits back at Ecobank

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Dr. Oba Otudeko has urged FBN Holdings Plc to disregard the request made by Ecobank in a letter on the recognition of shares transferred to Barbican Capital Limited.

Recall that Barbican Capital, a company reportedly owned by Otudeko, last Friday purchased an aggregate of 4,770,269,843 shares in FBN Holdings Plc putting its stake at 13.3 per cent.

Few days after the purchase, Ecobank wrote a letter to FBN Holdings, asking the bank to reject the Otudeko-led Honeywell’s bid to become the company’s largest shareholder.

Ecobank further claimed that Honeywell owes it a debt of N13.5 billion, adding that the debt was affirmed by the Supreme Court on January 27, 2023.

Responding to the bank’s claim, Wole Olanipekun, counsel to Otudeko and Honeywell Group, said the N13.5 billion debt stated in Ecobank’s letter was not contained in the supreme court’s decision or any extant court decision in Nigeria or elsewhere.

READ ALSOOba Otudeko’s N13.5bn ‘corporate heist’

According to Honeywell, no court order awarded the amount or any judgment sum (as debt owed) at all in favour of Ecobank.

“We write at the instance of Dr. Oba Otudeko, CFR and Honeywell Group Ltd. (our Clients), whose attention have been drawn to a letter dated 7th July, 2023 (written on the instruction of Ecobank Nig. Ltd.) with the above subject,” the Honeywell letter read.

“Even though, the author(s) of the letter refused to deliver copies to our clients, and/or the other entities referred to in the letter (which has been widely circulated in the media space), it is our instruction to respond as follows:

“Whereas, the letter falsely alleges that there was a decision of the Supreme Court in SC/CV/210/2021 made on 27th January, 2023 “affirming the indebtedness” of our clients and that the decision also “commanded” our above stated clients to perform certain acts, neither Dr. Oba Otudeko, CFR nor Honeywell Group PIc was a party to the Supreme Court decision/proceedings and no order was made against them.

“Thus, the further statement in the letter that “…the actions being taken by Dr. Oba Otudeko is (sic) … in order to frustrate the enforcement of the judgment of the Supreme Court against him” is without any factual or inferential basis arising from the express terms/contents of the judgment.

Consequently, Otudeko’s legal representatives urged FBN Holdings to dismiss and reject the requests made in Ecobank’s letter, highlighting the lack of a court order supporting the claims.

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