Billionaire businessman and Chairman of Honeywell Group, Dr. Oba Otudeko, Wednesday confirmed that his companies are no longer indebted to Ecobank Nigeria.
Giving his evidence before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Lagos Judicial Division in the ongoing matter instituted by Honeywell against Ecobank, Otudeko disclosed that Honeywell Group had paid a total of N3.5billion to Ecobank as full and final settlement of all its obligations to the bank.
Led in a cross-examination by Honeywell’s counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, Otudeko affirmed that on July 22, 2013, following an agreement reached with the then Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Jibril Aku and other executives of the bank, the Honeywell companies paid a total sum of N3.5 billion as full and final settlement of Honeywell’s obligations to the bank.
Prior to giving evidence, Ecobank’s counsel, O.A. Divine sought to stall proceedings by making an application to adjourn the matter on the basis that yet another appeal and an application for stay of proceedings had been filed just yesterday (Tuesday) at the Court of Appeal.
Honeywell ‘s counsel, Chief Olanipekun however objected to the oral application for adjournment stating that the matter for the day was the delivery of a ruling regarding the issue of cross examination of Ecobank’s witness, Otudeko.
Olanipekun said the application was an abuse of court process as it was an attempt to arrest the ruling of the court.
After listening to arguments of counsel, Justice Idris ruled that he was unable to place any value on the application to stay proceedings because the copy presented to the court by Ecobank’s counsel was not a certified-true-copy.
On the issue of the matter for the day, Justice Idris also affirmed that indeed the “ruling of the court cannot be arrested”.
Justice Idris subsequently ruled that cross examination should proceed.
Chief Olanipekun concluded the cross examination of Otudeko and Ecobank’s counsel declined to re-examine him.
The witness was thereafter discharged.
It appears that Ecobank’s strategy to call Otudeko as its star witness fell flat on its face as counsel was unable to extract any testimony from Otudeko to support Ecobank’s case.
Despite being the party that invited the witness, Ecobank’s counsel abruptly declined to proceed with the witness.
The matter was adjourned till March, 12, 2018.