Ecobank has said it is unhindered by the continued attempts by Honeywell to coerce the public into believing that it has fully paid its overdue indebtedness to the bank.
A statement signed by the Bank’s Company Secretary/Chief Legal Counsel, Adenike Laoye, made available to newsmen in Lagos at the weekend, stated that the attention of the Bank had been drawn to several media reports stating that the Honeywell Group has filed a suit claiming damages against Ecobank in the sum of N72 billion, stressing that there were many pending cases yet to be decided before the purported suit.
According to her ” It is noteworthy that Honeywell’s recent claim for damages was published and serialised in the news media even before the Bank was served with the court papers, which clearly elicits the ‘motive’ of a party owing huge sums of money. Indeed, the purport of the matter is most curious especially as there are other pending matters in court which remain undecided.”
Laoye pointed out that Ecobank will continue to strongly resist any attempt to use a frivolous N72 billion claim to derail it from continuing to pursue the recovery of monies owed and overdue for payment, noting that Ecobank is resolute that the businesses it supports should also honour their obligations when due. “This is the crux of the demand on the Honeywell Group to pay their debts in full.”
“Ecobank is the Pan African bank with representation across 36 countries. The Ecobank Group supports various businesses in all the countries in which it operates while holding customer deposits in safe trust.
“As the matters are in court, we shall, as a responsible corporate citizen, allow due process to prevail in court rather than use the news media. Our resolve is to fight to ensure that debtors fully honour their obligations after benefiting from credit facilities which helped to grow their businesses.”
The Supreme Court had ruled that the Federal High Court in Lagos was right to assume jurisdiction on a suit filed by Honeywell Flour Mills Plc and its two sister companies against Ecobank Nigeria Limited.
The apex court affirmed that the lower court’s decision to dismiss the preliminary objection filed by Ecobank, challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to hear the suit.
The firms urged the Federal High Court to order the bank to release to them, all the securities and collateral they used to secure the loan from the bank.
They also urged the Federal High Court to mandate Ecobank to update the status of their accounts on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s CRMS portal for all non-performing loan accounts.
Besides, they prayed the court to perpetually restrain Ecobank and its assignees from making any representation in any form to imply that they were still indebted to the bank in any way.
But in response to the suit, Ecobank filed a preliminary objection, challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to entertain the suit.