N13bn Debt: GT Bank Appeals ruling, alerts Police to avoid unlawful activities
Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), and a receiver/manager, Gbenga Akinde-Peters and have approached the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal, seeking an order of stay against the ruling of Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa of Lagos Federal High Court, which upturned the consent judgment granting them power to take over the management of The Honda Place (THP) Limited, and four of its subsidiaries over a N13 billion judgement debt.
The subsidiaries include Connoisseur Investment Limited; Premium Seafoods Limited and Onward Fisheries Nigeria Limited.
Despite an appeal against the ruling delivered by Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa on Monday, men of the Nigeria Police, Zone 2, Lagos allegedly went to execute a purported order of court without the Court Bailiffs which have already informed them of the stay of execution.
Not minding that an appeal is pending, Stallion Nigeria Limited allegedly by mobilized Policemen from Zone 2 to execute an order without the knowledge of the Bailiff section of the court that has the statutory powers to execute court orders and judgements.
On February 1, 2023, bailiffs of the Federal High Court, Lagos delivered possession of the properties and assets of Stallion Nigeria Limited to the Receiver/ Manager, Mr Akinde-Peters, appointed by GTB by virtue of the judgement of February 17, 2019 which gave the bank possession of judgement debtors. The sister companies of Stallion filed an application to set aside the execution of judgement on some grounds.
Justice Allagoa heard the application to set aside the execution on the February 17, 2023 and delivered ruling on February 20, in which he acceded to setting aside the execution. Not satisfied however, GTB immediately filed an appealed against the ruling and also filed a Motion for Stay of Execution of the ruling/order on the same day.
Despite the Appeal and the Motion for Stay, the the Staff of Stallion themselves allegedly mobilized Police from Zone 2 and without the court bailiffs, went to the premises and made attempts to forcefully dislodge the receiver/manager.
The police was seen at the premises, but, without court Bailiffs. Sources also revealed that the Deputy Sheriff of the Federal High Court never wrote a letter to the police for the execution of the said order.
The Receiver/Manager became judgment creditors by the consent judgment made by parties on December 17, 2019, while the judgment was executed on February 1, 2023, due to alleged failure of the judgment debtor firms to abide with the terms of consent judgment.
The judgement creditors, dissatisfied with the Justice Lewis-Allagoa action filed a notice of appeal and urged the court to set aside the ruling of the lower court.
The Appellants through their lawyer, Temilolu Adamolekun, listed four four grounds for the appeal viz:
- That the learned Trial Judge erred in law when he made an Order setting aside the execution of the Consent Judgment of the 17th of December, 2019 carried out on the 1st of February, 2023, where there was no appeal against the Consent Judgment, no Motion for Stay of Execution of the Consent Judgment, no Order staying the execution of the Consent Judgment.
- The learned Trial Judge misdirected himself in law when he held that the
Appellants ought not to have executed the Consent Judgment of 17th of December, 2019 carried out on the of February, 2023, in view of the pendency of the Application for Extension of time before the Lower Court dated 8th December 2022 to complete the Audit Report, that was pending before the Court, thereby amending/inserting an extraneous condition for the enforcement of the Consent judgment 17th December, 2019, which the Court had no jurisdictional power to do.
- The learned Trial Judge erred in law when he set aside the execution of the Consent Judgment on the basis that the Appellants did not apply for a Positive Order for the enforcement of the execution where in reality the Consent Judgment already provided for the enforcement of the Consent Judgment, where there is a breach of any of the terms of the Consent Judgment.”
The appellants therefore seek the following reliefs:
- A Order Of Stay Execution of the Order of 20th February, 2023 pending the determination of the Appeal filed by the Plaintiffs/Appellants.
- AN Order Of Injunction Pending Appeal restraining the first to 11th Respondents from enforcing the Order or any directive Dowing from or contained in the Ruling delivered on the 20th of February, 2023 in this Cause coram Allagoa J, pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal of the Appellants/Applicants herein ‘
- An Order Of Injunction Pending Appeal restraining the 6th to 8th respondents; the Chief Registrar and/or Deputy Chief Registrar, the sheriffs/balliffs of the Honourable Court whether by themselves, their agents, officers, privics or any person(s] acting or purporting to act on their behalf, through’them or by their instructions, from exccuting‘or enforcing in any manner whatsoever the Order or any directive flowing from or contained in the ruling delivered on the 20th of February, 2023 in this Cause coram Allagoa J. pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal of the Appellant/Applicant herein.
- An order of injunction pending appeal restraining the Inspector-General Of Police, Assistant Inspector-General Of Police, Zone 2, Onikan, Lagos; The Commissioner Of Police, Lagos State Command, Ikeja, Lagos, their Deputies, officers from assisting the 1st to 8th Respondents in enforcing the Order of of any Orders Nowing from or contained in the Ruling delivered on the 20th February, 2023, coram Allagoa J. pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal of the Appellant/ Applicant herein. And for such further order or orders as the Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.
Despite an appeal against the ruling delivered by Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa on Monday, men of the Nigeria Police, Zone 2, went to execute a purported order of court without the Court Bailiffs.
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