Again, Ecobank Fails To Suspend Honeywell Suit

Justice Idris of the Federal High Court of Lagos has once again refused Ecobank’s application to suspend the Honeywell’s suit against Ecobank.
The Court stated that it cannot grant Ecobank’s application because the Federal High Court is bound by the final judgement of the Court of Appeal, which was delivered on March 30, 2016, directing that the matter be given an accelerated hearing at the Federal High Court.
The Honeywell suit was instituted in 2015 and Honeywell’s prayer is a determination as to whether or not Honeywell is indebted to Ecobank.
In response to this suit, Ecobank challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to hear the suit.
This objection was rejected by the Federal High Court and Justice Idris ruled that the Court indeed had jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Ecobank appealed this decision at the Court of Appeal.
Aligning with the decision of the Federal High Court on its jurisdiction to hear the matter, the Court of Appeal in its final judgement of March 30 2016 dismissed Ecobank’s appeal and ordered the accelerated hearing of the matter before Justice Idris.
When the matter last came up on May 10, 2016 (following the judgment of the Court of Appeal), Ecobank’s counsel informed Justice Idris that a notice of appeal challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal had been filed at the Supreme Court.
An application for a stay of the execution of the judgment of the Court of Appeal had also be filed at the Court of Appeal.
Ecobank therefore requested that the proceedings before Justice Idris be stayed pending the outcome of the application for a stay of execution at the Court of Appeal. Justice Idris refused Ecobank’s application for a stay and adjourned the matter to 1st July, 2016 for parties to report on appeal.
At the hearing today July 1, 2016, Counsel to Honeywell, Bode Olanipekun informed the Court that Ecobank’s application for stay of execution was struck out by the Court of Appeal on June 28, 2016 and urged the court for a short date to commence trial.
Ecobank’s counsel Mr. Kushimo opposed the application on the ground that the appeal is now before the Supreme Court, therefore the court ought to stay proceedings on the matter.
In response, Honeywell’s counsel stated that Order 32 Rule 4 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules is to the effect that a stay of proceedings cannot be granted the second time after it had been refused the first time.
Justice Idris in his ruling stated that the March 30th Judgement of the Court of Appeal remains binding and that Ecobank’s stay of proceedings cannot be granted.
The Judge thereafter adjourned the matter to 2nd and 4th November, 2016 for commencement of trial in the substantive suit.