Legal crisis between Capital Oil and Access Bank Plc, deepened last Friday as a businessman, Ifeanyi Ubah and his firm took a fresh step to convict the bank for alleged contempt. In form 48 filed against the bank, Ubah alleged that Access Bank and some of its principal officers failed to comply with an order of a Federal High Court at the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench division, Commercial Court, London, ordering the bank to withdraw the suit filed against him relating to the dispute between them over a purported loan.
They alleged that rather than withdraw the London suit as ordered on January 28 by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Lagos, the bank allegedly went before the foreign court on January 31 and got a fresh order directing them, Ubah and his company to among others, take steps to vacate all orders made by the Nigerian court. Justice Abang had on January 28 ordered Access Bank to discontinue the London suit within 48 hours and exhibit a notice of discontinuance at the next hearing date.
The judge, in a ruling, faulted the bank’s decision to secure an order from a London Court despite a subsisting order of his court barring Access Bank and others from interfering with the property and business interests of Capital Oil and Gas Limited pending the determination of a suit by Ubah and his company. The judge upheld argument by lawyer to Ubah, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) that, by heading for London over a dispute in relation to a transaction that took place in Nigeria, the bank had “ridiculed the Nigerian judiciary.” Justice Abang restrained the bank from enforcing the order made by the London Court against the assets and business interests of Capital Oil.