A bank, Guaranty Trust Holding Company has asked Justice Abimbola Awogboro of the Federal High Court in Lagos to recuse himself from an alleged N13billion debt suit.
Alluding to loss of faith in the judge, the bank through its lawyer, Temilolu Adamolekun prayed that the case file be returned to the administrative judge for re-assignment to another judge.
The suit, marked FHC/L/CS/2147/19 was filed by the plaintiffs/applicants Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Gbenga Akinde-Peters Receiver/Manager of Stallion Nigeria Limited (In Receivership). Five other firms, THP Limited, The Honda Place Limited, Connoiseur Investment Limited, Premium Seafoods Limited and Onward Fisheries Nigeria Limited are the defendants/respondents, while KPMG Advisory Services (KPMG) is a respondent.
GTCO through Adamolekun, instituted the suit against T.H.P Limited and the four others in 2019 over the alleged N13 billion debt owed by Stallion Nigeria Limited.
Adamolekun’s application praying the judge to hands off the matter, followed the resumption of hearing on Wednesday, July 20,The prayers, as contained in his motion on notice, are “An order that the Hon. Justice Awogboro do recuse/disqualify himself from further adjudicating over this matter, the Applicant having lost confidence on the impartiality of His Lordship to determine this case.
“A consequential order that the case file relating to this matter be returned to the Administrative Judge of the Federal High Court Lagos Division for reassignment to another Judge of the Court for continuation of the matter.” The grounds upon which the application was brought are that on July 20, 2022 the matter came up for Hearing of pending Applications.
“The counsel to the Plaintiffs informed the court of the pendency of an Application for Stay of proceedings filed by the Plaintiffs and the need for the said Application to be heard before any other Application filed by any other party in the matter, and that the decision of the lower court on all processes filed before the court would eventually abide the decision of the Court of Appeal. “The Court attempted to take the Defendant’s Application dated 29 June, 2022, but counsel to the Plaintiffs pointed out to the Court that it would amount to refusing the Application for Stay of Proceedings even without hearing same.
“Counsel to the Defendants then urged the court to make an Interim Order suspending payment without determining their Application of 29 June, 2022, an oral Application which was in the nature of the same Application dated 29 June, 2022.
“In reaction, Counsel to the Plaintiffs told the Court that the being a court of record, it had no jurisdiction to grant such prayer without a formal Application, where the Plaintiffs already joined issues on the defendants’ Application and in view of the Application for Stay of Proceedings. His Lordship then advised the Defendants to file an Ex parte Application even when parties have joined issues before the court.
“His Lordship also told the defendants in open court, to file the Application before Friday, 22 July, 2022, so that he could hear them on the Application before vacation; without the presence or representation for the Plaintiffs.
“The Plaintiffs have lost confidence in the court and are of the belief that they cannot get justice before Honourable Justice Awogboro, if His Lordship could openly tell the Defendants to file an Ex parte Application in a matter where parties are already before the court and have joined issues.”
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