Ecobank Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Ecobank Transnational Inc. is seeking permission from the Federal High Court in Lagos to take over all the assets of Nigerian mogul Obafoluke Otudeko’s Honeywell Group, alleging a N4.1-billion ($10 million) debt default.
Meanwhile, Otudeko has described the lawsuit as an abuse of court processes. He contends that the bank filed the case in gross violation of Section 7(1)(a) of the Bankruptcy (Proceedings) Rules Cap B2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010.
Otudeko has filed a preliminary objection, asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit, or stay proceedings “in deference to arbitration.”
A recent report by The Nation Online cited the bank’s debt claims that three of Otudeko’s companies have failed to pay back loans. The companies include Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, Siloam Global Services Limited and Anchorage Leisures Limited.
The bank is therefore demanding that the court order the billionaire to provide his “statement of affairs, statement of net worth and other credible financial details requisite and in furtherance to the Bankruptcy Act.”
It is also seeking permission to “appropriate or otherwise utilize the investments, shares or other interests of the debtor (Otudeko)” in all the companies and any other one “in Nigeria or outside Nigeria in partial or full satisfaction of the debt due.”
Other companies belonging to Otudeko, whose assets the bank is eyeing, include Broadview Engineering Limited, Uraja Power Solutions Limited, Uraja Real Estate Limited, Honeywell Energy Resources Limited, Hudson Power Limited and Pivot Engineering and Pavilion Technology Limited.
The bank further seeks “a receiving order against the estate, funds, investment, shares or other interest” of Otudeko in the companies.
Ecobank is a Lome-based pan-African banking conglomerate. It has banking operations in 36 African countries and is the leading independent regional banking group in West Africa and Central Africa, serving wholesale and retail customers.