N300bn Suit against AMCON: Bi-Courtney Decries Media Reports

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The Bi-Courtney Consortium has faulted what it described as erroneous reports in some media outlets, which claimed that a N300 billion suit it brought against the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) was dismissed by the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The company, owned by Dr. Wale Babalakin SAN, maintained that the reports were a distortion of the facts, even as it wondered why a judgment delivered on May 3, 2016 was suddenly moulded into ‘breaking news’ in some print and online media in mid-August.

“It is not a new case, it is not a new judgment,” a senior member of Bi-Courtney’s legal team averred.
The legal counsel insisted that, contrary to reports, “The issue of whether AMCON was liable to pay damages to Bi-Courtney was never determined by the court.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the parties to the case had indeed entered into an out-of-court settlement as set out in an offer letter by AMCON, dated May 7, 2014. It was on account of the non-production of the said letter in court that Justice M. B. Idris dismissed the suit. We have filed a notice of appeal and we will have our day in court.”

According to court papers, Bi-Courtney as the claimant had sought a number of reliefs against AMCON as the defendant. The first relief (Relief 1) sought: “A declaration that as at the 22nd of September 2014, the defendant’s offer letter dated 7th May, 2014, cannot create a new cause of action.” The ‘new cause of action’ referred being an ex-parte order granted on September 22, 2014 (Suit no. FHC/LCS/1361/2014) which prevented Babalakin from drawing from his bank accounts, with the resultant damage to his reputation and businesses.

Among other reliefs, Bi-Courtney sought an award of general, aggravated and exemplary damages totaling N300 billion – which the company insists were never determined by the court.
Legal experts say the failure to produce the offer letter proved injurious to Bi-Courtney’s case. Delivering his judgment, Justice Idris stated that:

“Having failed to produce the offer letter of May 7, 2014, the Court cannot rightly determine if the letter constitutes a new cause of action and whether the other several alleged actions of the defendant was right and whether the claimants are entitled to any damages as a result of the actions of the defendant.”