The ongoing dispute between Honeywell and Ecobank was said to have taken a new turn last Friday, when the Supreme Court dismissed all three appeals filed by Ecobank for lack of merit.
According to a statement, in a unanimous decision by the learned judges of the apex court, the ruling was that Ecobankâ€™s appeals were frivolous.
The Court of Appeal on 30th March, 2016, had issued rulings against Ecobank which the bank thereafter appealed at the Supreme Court. In its ruling of 13th July, 2018, the Supreme Court dismissed all the appeals in their totality.
In suit No. SC/402/2016, Ecobank had appealed the decision of the Court of Appeal discharging the exparte injunctive/asset freezing orders which it had obtained against Honeywell.
In suit No. SC/406/2016, Ecobank had also appealed the decision of the Court of Appeal which had affirmed the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to hear the suit filed by Honeywell Companies.
The Court of appeal had also ordered accelerated hearing of the suit at the Federal High Court and Ecobank also challenged this ruling at the Supreme Court. Finally, in suit No. SC/407/2016., Ecobank appealed the ruling of the Court of Appeal striking out, rather than dismissing, the contempt proceedings filed by Honeywell.
â€œIn delivering judgment, the Justices of the Supreme Court reprimanded Ecobank for wasting the Courtâ€™s time by filing appeals which it described as frivolous, particularly in light of the myriad of critical matters before the apex court.
â€œThe Supreme Court also advised Ecobankâ€™s lawyers against filing such applications in the future. The court finally awarded costs totaling N2,500,000 against Ecobank and also affirmed the directive for accelerated hearing at the Federal High court as earlier issued by the Court of Appeal,â€ the statement added.
It will be recalled that Honeywell had filed a suit seeking a declaratory order to the effect that Honeywell is no longer indebted to Ecobank.
In its application before the Federal High Court, Honeywell had averred that its payment of the sum of N3.5 billion was full and final settlement of its obligations to the bank; a position which was affirmed in an earlier ruling by the Bankersâ€™ Committee which sought to resolve the matter initially.
But when contacted, a source at Ecobank who pleaded to remain anonymous, faulted the statement, saying â€œthe Supreme Court ruled that the case go back to the high Court.
â€œThat is the summary. That means there is no winner as claimed by the other part.â€