By Ibe Uwaleke
The Supreme Court last Friday dismissed the appeals brought by Ecobank Plc against Honeywell Nigeria Plc in the ongoing multi-billion naira dispute between the bank and the manufacturing company.
In a unanimous decision by the apex court, it ruled that Ecobank’s applications lacked merit in their entirety.
Delivering the judgment, the panel of justices of the Supreme Court reprimanded Ecobank’s lawyers for wasting the court’s time by filing appeals which it described as frivolous, particularly in light of the myriad of critical matters before the apex court.
The Supreme Court also warned Ecobank’s lawyers against filing such applications in future and awarded costs totaling N2.5 million against Ecobank for wasting the court’s time.
Prior to the Supreme Court ruling, Ecobank had previously suffered defeat in its dispute with Honeywell at the Court of Appeal when the appellate court also ruled against it. In a unanimous decision delivered by the Court of Appeal on the 30th of March 2016, the appellate court discharged the exparte injunctive/asset freezing orders obtained by Ecobank against Honeywell. The Court of Appeal also affirmed the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, Lagos to hear the suit filed by Honeywell against Ecobank whilst ordering accelerated hearing by the trial court.
It was these decisions by the Court of Appeal that Ecobank challenged at the Supreme Court. But Friday, July 13 ruling, the apex court held that Ecobank’s appeals were frivolous and subsequently dismissed.