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Ecobank vs Honeywell: Court directs CJ to re-assign case

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The Court of Appeal in Lagos has directed Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, to re-assign a winding-up petition by Ecobank Nigeria Limited against Honeywell Flour Mills Plc.
Justice Abimbola Obaseki-Adejumo said justice demands that both sides must be heard. She made no order as to cost.
The justice upheld an appeal by Honeywell against an ex-parte order made by Justice Mohammed Yunusa last December 4.
The company appealed against partial freezing of its accounts following an application by Ecobank’s lawyer Mr Kunle Ogunba (SAN), an insolvency expert.
Justice Yunusa had restrained Honeywell Group’s chairman, Dr Oba Otukedo, the company’s directors and subsidiaries from withdrawing from any bank or financial institution.
But Honeywell, through its lawyer Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) sought to discharge the order.
Justice Yunusa, in his ruling, on the application to discharge the order, held that the company could withdraw up to N60million in a month (N15million only per week) pending when the suit was heard and determined to enable Honeywell Group meet its financial obligations.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, Honeywell appealed, insisting that it wants full access to its funds. The suit is sequel to an alleged N3. 5 billion unpaid loan facility which Ecobank gave Honeywell.
Justice Obaseki-Adejumo said Justice Yunusa made the ex-parte order without notice to Honeywell. She said it violated the rules guiding winding-up petitions.
According to her, the rules state that every application in such a petition shall be by motion on notice to the person against whom the order was to be made.
“Justice of the case demands that both side be heard. The ruling of the Federal High Court is hereby set aside. The petition shall be assigned to another judge for necessary action. Parties shall bear their costs,” she held.
Ecobank had also appealed a ruling by Justice Mohammed Idris striking out contempt proceedings initiated against it by Achorage Leisures Limited and its sister company Siloam Global Services Limited, both of which are subsidiaries of Honeywell Group.
They accused the bank of disobeying an earlier directive by the judge that all parties should maintain status ante-bellum, which the bank denied.
Justice Mohammed Idris had last August 10 made an order of interim injunction restraining the bank from publishing the plaintiffs’ name as debtors and ordered parties to maintain status quo pending hearing of the plaintiffs’ suit.
But Honeywell said while the suit was pending, Ecobank filed other suits before other judges in a bid to recover its debt from Honeywell Group and its chairman Oba Otudeko.
Honeywell’s lawyers, therefore, filed Form 48 and Form 49, urging the court to hold the bank in contempt.
But Justice Idris struck out the contempt proceedings on the basis that no proper service was effected on the alleged contemnors.
Ogunba had argued on appeal that Justice Idris ought to have dismissed the proceedings rather than striking it out (which means it could be re-filed).
But the appellate court upheld Justice Idris’ ruling, adding that “the court cannot dissipate energy on an issue over which it had no jurisdiction.”
In a third appeal, Ecobank had challenged the lower court’s jurisdiction, but Justice Obaseki-Adejumo upheld Justice Idris’ assumption of jurisdiction, adding that there was a banker-customer relationship between Ecobank and Otudeko which vested the judge with jurisdiction.

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Controversial Sterling Bank caught in the act! CBN sanctions, parades officials for hoarding new naira notes [VIDEO]

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Officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have discovered N6 million of the new naira notes hoarded in Sterling Bank Plc, Ado Ekiti branch on Bank Road, Ado Ekiti in Ekiti State, having received the funds for over two weeks, THE WITNESS reports.

 

In a trending video on social media, seen by THE WITNESS, a man who identified himself as Oluwole Owoeye, a deputy director of CBN, while monitoring the distribution of the new naira notes in the state, was seen questioning the bank officials as to why they have not uploaded the funds into their Automated Teller Machines, (ATMs), despite having six of the machines in place.

 

The CBN director also announced a fine of N1 million for each day the fund was in the bank’s custody.

 

The CBN official said, “I am currently at Sterling Bank, on Bank Road as part of the new naira notes monitoring compliance with the guidelines by CBN. They have N6 million, which they collected from the bank for almost two weeks, they have not disbursed any. They said they are yet to configure their ATMs, I do not know why that and I have brought attention to the penalty clause of N1 million per day, because they have five ATMs here, they have no reason for keeping this money.

 

“The zonal service manager, Tunde Onipede promised that by 10:00am latest tomorrow (Monday), because I told him by latest 10:00 am I’ll be here and I want to see the machine dispensing this money.

 

“What is the name again? Olumide Owolabi (Service Manager, Ado) & Motunrayo Babayele. My name is Oluwole Owoeye and I am a deputy director of CBN.”

 

WATCH VIDEO HERE:

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FCMB Manager Arrested For Hoarding New Naira Notes

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A manager of the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) branch in Osogbo, Osun State capital, has been arrested for allegedly preventing Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) loaded with cash from dispensing money to customers.

The spokesperson of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission (ICPC), Azuka Ogugua, in a statement on Friday said the cash bundles were loaded into the ATMs while still wrapped, and as such, could not be dispensed through the machines

“The ICPC Compliance Team in Osogbo has busted an FCMB in Osogbo, Osun State, where some ATMs were loaded with cash with their wrappers un-removed, thus preventing the cash from being dispensed.

“The Team, therefore, directed that the wrappers be removed, and the cash loaded properly’.

Similarly, seven Point of Sale (POS) operators as well as a security guard were arrested during the ongoing exercise in Osun State for charging exorbitant commissions for cash.

Investigations, however, revealed that they got the money from Filling Stations that collect new notes from fuel buyers, but they then resell the cash to the public at exorbitant rates.

The arrested persons are helping the Commission with information to assist investigations and bust any syndicates involved in the hoarding or sales of the redesigned notes.

 

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New naira: ICPC arrests Stanbic IBTC Bank manager over sabotage

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), has arrested an official of Stanbic IBTC Bank in Abuja for alleged sabotage.

The ICPC spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, said the development was in continuation of ICPC’s clampdown on elements frustrating efforts in making the redesigned Naira notes available to members of the public.

The bank official, who is the branch service head of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Deidei Branch in Abuja, was taken into custody for her deliberate refusal to upload cash into the branch’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) even when the cash was available and people were queuing at the ATM points.

The statement reads: “When the ICPC monitoring team stormed the bank at about 1:30pm on Friday to ensure compliance, and demanded explanation as to why all the ATMs were not dispensing cash, the team was informed by the branch’s head of operations that the bank just got delivery of the cash.

“However, facts available to the ICPC operatives indicated that the branch took delivery of the cash earlier around 11:58am and either willfully or maliciously refused to feed the ATMs with the cash.

“Against this backdrop, the ICPC team compelled the bank to load the ATMs with the redesigned Naira notes and ensured that they were all dispensing before arresting the culprit.

“The ICPC said investigations were still ongoing and the Commission will take appropriate actions as soon they are concluded.

“Similarly, seven Point of Sale (PoS) operators as well as a security guard were arrested during an ongoing exercise in Osun State for charging exorbitant commissions for cash.

“Investigations, however, revealed that they got the money from Filling Stations that collect new notes from fuel buyers, but they then resell the cash to the public at exorbitant rates.

“The arrested persons were helping the anti-graft commission with information to assist investigations and bust other syndicates involved in the hoarding and sales of the redesigned Naira notes,” the anti-graft agency said.

 

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