A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday, struck out a winding up petition by Ecobank Nig. Plc against Honeywell and its sister company, Anchorage Leisures Ltd, over alleged N3.5 billion loan facility.
The petition is sequel to an alleged N3.5 billion loan facility, which Honeywell was said to owe the bank.
Justice Jude Dagat struck out the winding up application for being an abuse of court process.
The suits numbered FHC/L/CS/1571/15 and FHC/L/CS/1570/15 were filed by the applicant on Oct. 16, 2015.
In a short ruling, Justice Dagat noted that a court faced with a winding up petition must first determine if the petition was brought in good faith.
According to him, the applicant knew that the respondent was challenging the alleged debt and had instituted a matter before Justice Mohammed Idris of the same court, who had ruled that parties must maintain status quo.
The judge noted that inspite of the orders, Ecobank started its “forum shopping” by filing winding up petitions instead of recovery of the alleged debt.
Justice Dagat held that since the matter pending before Justice Idris is premised on the same facts as the instant petition, there is an established abuse of the orders of Justice Idris regarding maintenance of status quo.
He further held that the matter before Justice Idris is first in time, therefore the subsequent petition by Ecobank constitutes an abuse of court process.
The court also held that Ecobank’s petition is aimed at over-reaching the powers of the Federal High Court in the suit before Justice Idris.
He said: ‘’The Supreme Court has made it clear that it would amount to a travesty of justice for any court to hear a matter that is already before another court of coordinate jurisdiction.’’
The judge held that if the court should proceed with Ecobank’s petition, it would create a conflict of decisions by different courts, which will not augur well within the Judiciary.
“It is not in the interest of justice to allow this petition to stand even as the jurisdiction of the court has not been invoked on the matter,” he said.
Dagat accordingly struck out the petition for being an abuse of court process.