29 January 2013

Nigeria: Court Directs Access Bank to Withdraw London Suit Against Ubah, Capital Oil

A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday directed Access Bank Plc to withdraw a suit it filed against the Capital Oil and Gas Limited and its promoter, Ifeanyi Ubah in London.

In his ruling on the application of Capital Oil and Ubah challenging the propriety of Access Bank suit in London during the pendency of the suit in Nigeria, Justice OKon Abang also ordered the bank to discontinue the suit within 48 hours and exhibit a notice of discontinuance at the next hearing date.

Justice Abang further faulted the bank's decision to secure an order from a London Court despite a subsisting order of his court barring Access Bank and others from interfering with the properties and business interests of Capital Oil and Gas Limited pending the determination of a suit by Ubah and his company.

The judge upheld argument by the lawyer to Ubah, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) that, by heading for London over a dispute in relation to a transaction that took place in Nigeria, the bank has "ridiculed the Nigerian judiciary."

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.

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