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New Twist In Ecobank Vs Honeywell Case As Bank Appeals Justice Dagat’s Ruling.

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Ecobank

Ecobank Nigeria Limited has appealed a ruling by Justice Jude Dagat of the Federal High Court in Lagos striking out its winding-up petition against Honeywell Group Limited and its sister company Anchorage Leisures Limited.

Justice Dagat delivered the ruling on Monday on the basis that Ecobank’s suit was an abuse of court process.

But, Ecobank, through its lawyer Kunle Ogunba (SAN), has lodged two appeals at the Court of Appeal in Lagos against the companies on seven grounds each.

The bank is praying the court to set aside Justice Dagat’s consolidated ruling striking out the petition, as well as an order directing the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to re-assign the petition to another judge for hearing.

Ecobank also filed a motion for an order of injunction restraining Honeywell and Anchorage or their agents from taking advantage of Justice Dagat’s ruling as it relates to their funds of all the banks in Nigeria pending the determination of the appeal.

The appellant, in a June 28 letter to Justice Dagat, urged the court to “urgently assign a date for hearing of the duly filed injunction in the interest of justice and in pursuance of the abiding tenet to always hold the scale of justice evenly and balanced between contending parties.”

Ecobank filed the winding-up petition against Honeywell Group’s inability to pay an alleged debt to the tune of N5.5billion.

But the companies filed motion on notice seeking to strike out the petition, following which the court ruled in the companies’ favour.

Ecobank is praying the appellate court to allow its appeal because Justice Dagat erred in law on several grounds.

In one of the grounds, it said the judge occasioned a gross miscarriage of justice and erred in law when it struck out the winding-up petition on the ground that the indebtedness is disputed.

“Learned trial judge occasioned a gross miscarriage of justice by striking out the appellant’s petition on grounds of an alleged repayment made outside contract and on terms vehemently opposed by the appellant,” the bank said.

Ecobank said the judge also erred in holding that its petition amounted to an abuse of court process because of a suit by the companies pending before Justice Mohammed Idris of the same court.

“The exercise of a right to commence a fresh action rather than counter-claim in a previously commenced action by an adversary is not an abuse of court process,” the bank said.

The appellant said Justice Dagat also erred by holding that it did not observe all preconditions in commencing the suit because “there is no precondition to be fulfilled before a party can exercise his constitutional right of recourse to court.”

The bank added: “Rights guaranteed by the Constitution are inalienable, fundamental and ranks higher to all statutory provisions including the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act.”

BIG STORY

Kings of Finance: GTBank Named Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand

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Guaranty Trust Bank plc has been ranked Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand in the 10th-anniversary rankings of Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands, the pre-eminent survey and ranking of the Top 100 admired brands in Africa. The rankings were announced in a novel global virtual event and will be published in the June issue of the African Business magazine.

In a special report examining the results of the 2020 survey, the founder of Brand Africa, Thebe Ikalafeng, said GTBank’s “clever marketing, global presence and some of its flagship food and fashion events have undoubtedly helped make it a fixture of daily life in some of its key markets, especially its home base Nigeria.” He added that the bank, which recently won plaudits for building a 110-bed Care Centre in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, “has taken banking and finance to the people.”

GTBank has long been regarded as one of Africa’s outstanding brands and enjoys a massive youth following thanks to its innovative and forward-thinking approach to financial services and customer engagement. It currently commands the largest social media following amongst all financial institutions in Africa and in 2019, the Bank hosted over 700,000 people at its consumer-focused events, GTBank Food and Drink Festival and The GTBank Fashion Weekend, among them dozens of business leaders and industry experts from around the world.

In 2019, GTBank removed all banking charges for young undergraduates under the age of 25 on its GTCrea8 Account Package. The move was unprecedented in the financial services sector but not unusual for a bank that had pioneered Zero-Naira Account Opening in the country, and in which people over the age of 65 also bank for free. GTBank is also blazing the trail in digital technologies; after leading the USSD banking revolution in Nigeria with its 737 Service, the bank is driving the digitization of consumer lending with Quick Credit, a first-of-its-kind digital lending product that gives individuals and small businesses instant, real-time access to loans anytime, anywhere via their mobile phones.

Brand Africa’s ranking of GTBank as Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand is only one of its many accolades. In 2019, the was recognized as the Best Bank in Africa and Best Bank in Nigeria, by the Euromoney Magazine and the Best Banking Group and Best Retail Bank Nigeria by World Finance Magazine. In the same year, the Bank also dominated the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme (EPIS) Efficiency Awards for the third year in a row, taking home 8 of the 12 honours for banks at the forefront of driving the digitalization of financial services.

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COVID-19: CBN Issues Directive To Banks, Reduces Interest Rates

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reduced interest rates on its facilities through participating in Other Financial Institutions (OFIs).

The rate has been slashed from 9 to 5 percent per for one year, effective March 1, 2020.

This was contained in a circular to banks on Wednesday by the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Kevin Amugo.

Similarly, CBN intervention facilities obtained through participating OFIs, Microfinance Banks (MFBs), Primary Mortgage Banks, among others would be given a further one-year moratorium on all principal repayments.

This is also effective on March 1, 2020.

OFIs have equally been granted leave to consider temporary and time-limited restructuring of the tenor and loan terms for households and businesses, subject to the recently issued guidelines for restructuring affected credit facilities in the OFI sub-sector.

The Director, Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okoroafor, said the decisions were part of the bank’s efforts to cushion the effects of coronavirus on Nigerians, businesses and regulated institutions.

He assured that the CBN would also continue to monitor developments and implement appropriate measures to safeguard financial stability and support stakeholders impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the CBN for the month of May will be held on Thursday.

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GTBank Celebrates Children’s Day

Gbemileke Ajayi

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