Ecobank Nigeria Limited has taken legal action against the recent ruling of the Federal High Court, Lagos, delivered by Hon. Justice M. Liman in response to the N72 billion lawsuit filed against the bank by Honeywell Flour Mills Plc.
A spokesperson for Ecobank firmly asserted that the judgment claim is futile, as the bank intends to vigorously pursue an appeal with the aim of overturning the Federal High Court’s decision. Additionally, Ecobank remains dedicated to recovering the debts owed by Honeywell, emphasizing the importance of protecting depositors’ funds to support and foster the growth of local businesses.
In its Notice of Appeal dated 19th July 2023, filed on the same date, Ecobank seeks to reverse the judgment delivered on 18th July 2023. The bank is also seeking an Order from the Court of Appeal to uphold its Notice of Preliminary Objection, challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in presiding over the matter. Alternatively, Ecobank requests the Court of Appeal to dismiss Honeywell’s claim at the lower court, citing insufficient evidence to support the claim.
Simultaneously, alongside the Notice of Appeal, Ecobank filed a Motion on Notice to stay the execution of the lower court’s judgment and prevent Honeywell or any acting parties from exploiting the ruling during the appeal hearing. Additionally, the bank seeks to restrain the Deputy Sheriff of the Federal High Court, bailiffs, and other involved parties from enforcing the judgment.
Ecobank’s grounds of appeal include challenging the court’s jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter, arguing that the court lacked the power to entertain a claim for damages based on an undertaking made by the Bank, considering the judgment of the Supreme Court confirming Honeywell’s indebtedness to Ecobank and directing Honeywell to settle its obligations. The bank asserts that this Supreme Court judgment nullifies the foundation of Honeywell’s current suit.
Furthermore, in its third Ground of Appeal, Ecobank contends that the judgment was delivered beyond the constitutionally prescribed period of 90 days, leading to a miscarriage of justice against the bank.
The trial concluded on 9th March 2021, with written addresses adopted on 16th March 2022. However, the judgment was delivered on 18th July 2023, more than two years after the trial’s conclusion. Ecobank argues that the prolonged delay influenced the court’s impression of the trial, resulting in a judgment that does not align with the weight of evidence presented.