Alleged N5.5Bn Debt: Oba Otudeko To Appear In Court

Owner of Honeywell Group Plc, Dr. Oba Otudeko, is to appear in court and give evidence, in relation to an alledged N5.5 billion debt allegedly owed Ecobank Nigeria Plc.

This is according to the order of Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal high court sitting in Lagos.

He made the orders while delivering a ruling in a suit by Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, and its sister companies – Anchorage Leisures Limited and Siloam Global Limited against Ecobank Nigeria Limited, challenging the alleged indebtedness.

The case has been adjourned until February 8, for personal service of the subpoena/witness summons on Otudeko.

At the proceedings today, counsel representing Ecobank, Mr. O.A Divine from the law firm of Mr. Kunle Ogunba, SAN, informed the court that he had two applications dated January 26 and 29 respectively, but urged the court to allow him move the application dated January 26, which is seeking for a stay of proceedings in the suit.

 Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr. Bode Olanipekun, urged that the latter application of  January 29 be dismissed if the defendant was not inclined to moving same, adding that he was prepared to withdraw his objection if the defendant is prepared to move the applications.

The court then struck out the application dated January 29, and allowed the defence to move the application dated January 26.

After listening to the arguments on both sides, Justice Idris said that the reliefs sought by the applicant are to be decided by the appellate court.

The court accordingly, struck out the application.

When asked to call his witness, the defence counsel told the court that it intended to call the arrow head of Honeywell Group, Dr. Oba Otudeko, as its first witness.

He claimed that Oba Otudeko had ignored the summons several times.

He then urged the court to grant an adjournment, to enable the witness appear in court and give evidence in the case, failing which he will be moving the court to issue a bench warrant for his arrest and production in court.

Responding Olanipekun argued that the said subpoena could only probably have been served on the intended witness recently, rather earlier, and urged the court to look at its record.

After a perusal at the records, the court held that the subpoena was only served on February 6, on a third party, and not personally on Oba Otudeko.

“In the light of the above, I will redirect that proper service of the subpoena be effected personally on the witness, to enable him attend court, and I urge counsel to cooperate in this light,” he held.