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Ecobank’s Suit against Mr. Oba Otudeko

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Ecobank Nigeria Limited filed a court case against Mr. Oba Otudeko, the chairman of Honeywell Group. Justice Maureen Onyetenu of the Federal High Court in Lagos Nigeria handled the case. The suit was about an alleged N4.1 billion debt from Dr. Oba Otudeko. Ecobank claimed Honeywell group faced bankruptcy and wasn’t able to pay up the debt. The Federal High Court entertained the allegations and adjourned further proceedings till a later date.

Barrister A.O. Divine representing Ecobank urged Justice Maureen Onyetenu to adjourn the case to await the result of appeals arising from the allegations. Barrister A.O. Divine also further went on to address the court that the reason for his adjournment plea was because the Court of Appeal is yet to decide the appeals on the case.

He said since the Court of Appeal is yet to decide the appeals, there wouldn’t be much evidence to support both parties’ claim hence, the judge should adjourn the case. Barrister Faith Adarighofua, representing the Honeywell group, aligned herself with Ecobank’s counsel for an adjournment. At first, Justice Maureen Onyetenu felt reluctant about the adjournment given that it was earlier adjourned till that date.

In the suit, Ecobank’s counsel claimed that Mr. Oba Otudeko was indebted to the financial institution as he stated that Mr. Oba Otudeko personally pleaded for the loan to support his three firms- Honeywell Flour Mills Plc., Anchorage Leisures Limited, and Siloam Global Services- and yet failed to liquidate the loan up till that date.

Ecobank’s counsel addressed the court on the need to issue a receiving order to them against shares, investments, returns, and other funds of Mr. Oba Otudeko. They also appealed to the court to place the receiving order on Otudeko’s two firms- Siloam Global Services Limited and Honeywell Group Limited.

Ecobank’s counsel also prayed the judge to permit it to utilize all funds realized from the shares and investments of Mr. Oba Otudeko’s firms till the debt is repaid. The receiving order was to affect all of Otudeko’s companies in and outside Nigeria so definitely, it was going to satisfy the debt if approved.

Not only did the counsel request a receiving order, but also prayed the court to command Mr. Oba Otudeko to surrender all crucial bank statements he had with him. Some of these bank statements include; statements of net worth, statements of affairs, and other documents backing up finances. This plea was in furtherance to the “Bankruptcy Act.” The financial mess Mr. Oba Otudeko and his companies, Siloam Global Services Limited and Honeywell Group Limited has fallen into is further compounded by the revelation that these same entities owe the First Bank of Nigeria #75 billion and it is apparent that Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) may be called upon to sort out the mess.

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