Wednesday, February 7, 2018 4:27 pm
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, south west Nigeria today summoned Chairman of Honeywell group Plc, Dr Oba Otudeko, to appear in court to give evidence, in a suit instituted by his company Anchorage Leisures against Ecobank
The presiding judge Mohammed Idris issued the order, today while delivering a ruling in a suit filed by Anchorage Leisures Ltd and Siloam Global Ltd against Ecobank Nigeria Ltd, challenging their alleged indebtedness.
The suit was adjourned till tomorrow 8 February 2018.for personal service of the subpoena/witness summons on Dr Otudeko.
When the case was mentioned today, counsel representing Ecobank, Mr O.A Divine informed the court that he had two applications dated 26 January 2018 and 29 January 2018 respectively, but urged the court to allow him argue the application dated January 26, which was seeking for a stay of proceedings in the suit.
However, in opposition to the said application, counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Bode Olanipekun, after confirming receipt of the said applications, urged the court that application dated January 29 be dismissed if the defendant was not inclined to moving same, adding that he was prepared to withdraw his objection if the defendant is prepared to move the applications.
The court consequently, struck out the application dated January 29, while it urged the defence to move the application dated January 26,2018
In arguing the application Mr Divine, said the crux of the application, is that, on December 21, 2017, the court had delivered a ruling in which it refused its (Ecobank) motion for stay of proceedings, irrespective of its notice of appeal.
He said that the applicant being aggrieved by the ruling, had filed a notice of appeal before the court, urging it to grant same, as it does not share similar jurisdiction with the court of appeal.
He argued that if the application is not granted, it will render nugatory the outcome of the appeal it filed.
In a counter affidavit, Olanipekun argued that firstly, the applicant’s affidavit in support of his motion, had no seal attached, adding that it is a requirement of rules 10 of the rules of professional conduct.
Again, he argued that reliefs three of the applicant’s interlocutory application, is for a stay of proceedings in the trial court, adding that the trial court cannot grant the final relief which the applicant is asking the Appellate court to grant.
He argued further that the applicant had not also exhibited due diligence as they have not transmitted their records of appeal, adding that the appeal predicating the instant one, was not ripe for hearing. Consequently he urged the court to dismiss the application, and order the applicant to open his case and call his witness, so that the case could proceed.
In his ruling, justice Idris held that having taken a cursory look at the records before him, the court is of the view that the reliefs sought by the applicant are to be decided by the appellate court.
The court accordingly, struck out the application. When asked to call his witness, the defence counsel told the court that it intended to call the arrow head of Honeywell group, Dr. Oba Otudeko, as its first witness.
He told the court that a subpoena had been issued on the witness, who fully had knowledge of the summons, but had decided to ignore same.
Divine then urged the court to grant an adjournment, to enable the witness appear in court and give evidence in the case, failing which he will be moving the court to issue a bench warrant for his arrest and production in court.
In response, Olanipekun argued that the said subpoena could probably have been served on the intended witness recently, rather earlier, and urged the court to look at its record.
He submitted that this was a ploy to further frustrate the suit, since the defence had a second witness it could call instead of the first.
After a perusal at the records, the court held that the subpoena was only served on February 6, on a third party, and not personally on Oba Otudeko.
The court then ordered that:
“In the light of the above, i will redirect that proper service of the subpoena be effected personally on the witness, to enable him attend court, and i urge counsel to cooperate in this light.” The court consequently adjourned the case till tomorrow February 8 for continuation of hearing.
• Akin Kuponiyi [email protected]