Commercial LawBusiness

$47m debt: Court declines order to let Shoprite exit Nigeria

A Federal High Court in Lagos Monday declined to lift an order barring South African retail store, Shoprite Checkers (PYT), from leaving Nigeria.

Shoprite Checkers (PYT) is one of the four defendants in a suit alleging that the supermarket group owes a Nigerian firm, A.I.C. Limited, $47 million.

Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa dismissed Shoprite Checker’s application seeking to discharge the ex parte order, saying it was without merit.

The order was granted by Justice Mohammed Liman, (now sitting in another jurisdiction of the court) on August 17, 2020, following A.I.C.’s ex parte application in Suit FHC/L/CS/881/2020.

The application, argued by A.I.C.’s counsel, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), listed Shoprite Checker (PTY), Retail Supermarket Nigeria Limited, The Registrar of Trademarks and the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) as the first to fourth respondents.

Other prayers in A.I.C.’s application granted by the judge included, among others, an order restraining Retail Supermarket Nigeria Limited, from making any financial payments to Shoprite Checkers under a Administration and Technical Services Agreement.

An order mandating Retail Supermarket Nigeria Limited to disclose its Audited Financial Statements for the years ending 2018 and 2019 to enable it to determine the amount of Shoprite Checker’s funds in its custody in order to preserve same in satisfaction of the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Appeal No: CA/L/288/2018.

“An order directing the second respondent to file an Affidavit to show compliance with the court’s orders, within seven days of service of orders.

Dissatisfied, ShopRite Checke7r (PYT) Limited approached the court with an application to set aside and discharge the order.

But A.I.C. countered the prayers.

After hearing the arguments, Justice Lewis-Allagoa described Shoprite Checker’s application as lacking in merit and dismissed the same.

He gave Shoprite Checker (PYT) Limited 14 days to comply with Justice Liman’s orders and adjourned till July 14, for it to show compliance.

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