A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday directed Access Bank Plc to withdraw a suit it filed against Capital Oil and Gas Limited and its promoter, Ifeanyi Ubah in London.
JUSTICE Okon Abang,while delivering a ruling on the issue expressed displeasure at the actions of Access Bank and Coscharis Motors in securing an order from a London Court despite an existing order of the Nigerian court which barred them from interfering with the properties and business interests of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, describing the action of the bank and Coscharis as one that has “ridiculed the Nigerian Judiciary”.
This was in response to the prayer of the counsel to Ubah, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), who accused the defendants of violating the express orders of the court.
Justice Abang agreed with Olanipekun that these actions of obtaining an order from a London Court undermine Nigeria’s judiciary by violating an existing order of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Olanipekun had also described the action of Access Bank as ‘banking lawlessness’ and one which is condemnable tendered the proceedings and the order of the London Court as exhibit in the case;
He thereafter urged Justice Abang to restrain the respondents from enforcing the order of the London Court.
Justice Abang then ordered the defendants (Access and Coscharis) 48 hours within which to file a notice of discontinuance of all processes before the London court.
He restrained the bank from enforcing the order made by the London Court against the assets and business interests of Capital Oil.
The judge held that Ubah were at liberty to apply to his court for leave to commence contempt proceedings against bank and its principal officers.
He further held the Ubah and his company could sue for damages if they so wish.
The ruling was on an application by Ubah and his company, challenging the legality of a worldwide assets freezing order obtained by Access Bank from the London court on November 9 last year, in relation to issues that formed the subject of the pending suit before the Nigerian court.
The court has been adjourned till February 4.