Lagos Division of the Appeal Court, yesterday, reserved judgment in the appeal filed by Honeywell Group asking the court to vacate an order restricting it from financial transaction.
The court also reserved for judgment Ecobank’s cross appeal bordering on the same subject matter.
Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court in Lagos had on December 14, 2015 issued an interim order in a suit between Ecobank Plc and Honeywell group over an alleged N3.5 billion unpaid loan facility granted by Ecobank to Oba Otudeko’s group.
In the interim order, Justice Yunusa had limited Honeywell to N15 million weekly withdrawals from its account.
Not satisfied with the ruling, Honeywell appealed and prayed the court to set aside the interim order.
At the resumed hearing of the appeal, yesterday, a three-man panel of justices presided over by Sidi Bage reserved judgment after Counsel to Honeywell, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, and that of Ecobank, Mr. Kunle Ogunba, SAN, had adopted their briefs of arguments.
Adopting the appellant’s brief dated December 24, 2015, Olanipekun urged the court to allow the appeal and set aside the ex-parte order made by Justice Yunusa.
Olanipekun urged the judges to see the appeal as a ‘Save Our Soul’ from the appellant, adding that the activities of Honeywell Group had been paralysed as a result of the ex-parte order granted by the lower court.
He argued that the activities of the appellant had been in comatose and that salaries of over 5,000 workers were yet to be paid due to the order granted by the lower court.
He urged the Appeal Court to hold that the lower court judge erred in law when he granted a winding up petition through an ex-parte applicant.
Olanipekun drew the attention of the court to what he called ‘abuse of court processes by the respondent, (Ecobank),’ arguing that it had filed a winding up petition before Justice James Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Lagos, on the same facts, while another was before Justice Idris of a sister court.
He stated that Justice Tsoho heard the ex-parte application and refused same because a similar suit was before a sister court and directed that the bank put Honeywell Flour Mills Plc on notice.
He submitted that instead of putting Honeywell Flour Mills Plc on notice as directed by Tsoho, Ecobank filed another winding up petition before Yunusa.
He added that Justice Yinusa on November 18, 2015 granted an ex-parte order and adjourned the matter till December 24, 2015.
Olanipekun argued that it was wrong for the lower court to hold that the ex-parte order granted were in the nature of Mareva injunctions.
Opposing the appeal, counsel to Ecobank adopted the respondent’s brief dated February 22 and urged the court to uphold the preliminary objection and dismiss the appeal.
Ogunba argued that it was a misconception that the appeal filed by Honeywell was as a result of an ex-parte order granted by the lower court, stressing that it had been varied by the lower court on December 4, 2015.
On its cross appeal, Ecobank challenged the entire consolidated ruling of the lower court in respect of the appellant’s motion on notice of November 26, 2015.
Ogunba averred that the Company and Allied Matters Act allows for the preservation of assets by interim orders in a winding up petition, pending the appointment of a liquidator.
He added that the trial court erred and caused a miscarriage of justice by allowing the respondent a weekly cumulative withdrawal of N15 million from its attached account, having not denied its indebtedness to the appellant.
He submitted that the lower court occasioned a miscarriage of justice by allowing Honeywell to dissipate the preserved assets, pending the hearing of an application for appointment of a liquidator.
But, responding to the cross-appeal, lawyer to Honeywell argued that there was no cross appeal before the court and urged it to dismiss same as it constitutes an abuse of court.

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