•Adjourns till January 21
By LOUIS IBA
A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday adjourned the suit filed by Capital Oil and Gas Ltd and its MD/CEO, Mr. Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah against Access Bank and Coscharis Motors Limited, to January 21, 2013.
Justice O.E Abang also restrained security agencies from harassing Mr. Ubah.
Coscharis Motors had earlier petitioned the Police that Capital Oil allegedly breached a joint venture bordering on importation and distribution of petroleum products.
According to Access Bank and Coscharis, the poor execution of the deal had resulted in the loss of over N21billion which was drawn as a credit from the bank with the Coscharis boss, Mr Cosmas Maduka being the guarantor.
The latest suit came up for hearing last week before Justice Abang. But the respondents were neither in court, just as there was no lawyer to represent them, even though they had been served with court summons.
Counsel to the applicants (Capital Oil), Mr. R. A. Lawal Rabana, (SAN), had said that he was in court to move the application, which was duly served on the defendants. Rabana said the Writ of Summons was served on the defendants much earlier with the application and motion and that the hearing notice of the motion was equally served on the first and second defendants on November 6 and 9 respectively.
He told the court that the defendants had seven days under the Rules of the Court to respond to the processes served on them, either positively or otherwise, adding that the seven days had elapsed.
The court, after confirming that the defendants were properly and duly served the originating court processes in respect of the application including the hearing notices and that the respondents were fully aware of the sitting of the court but they were absent and did not also send a lawyer or a letter to explain reasons for their absence, allowed the applicant’s counsel to move his application.
Addressing the court yesterday, Capital Oil’s lawyer informed that the respondents were moving at an alarming speed to deal with, and destroy the assets, properties and business interests of the applicants including third party assets and businesses, which have dealings with the applicants. He said that the respondents had arrested two ships carrying the goods and consignments of the applicants, adding that one of the ships was seized in South Africa while the other was impounded in Nigeria.
He alleged that the respondents were wreaking great havoc on the business interests of the applicants, and had even filed an action in an English court, which they now use as a basis to go after the assets of the applicants world-wide.
Rabana urged the court to give an order to preserve the res, otherwise, by the time they come back to the court, there would be nothing left for his client. Justice Abang granted the interlocutory order restraining the defendants, their agents, privies and or servants or any other body acting on the instructions of the defendants from interfering with the properties and businesses of the applicants pending the determination of the suit.
He also ordered the applicants to file an indemnity within 48 hours to indemnify the court in the event that the court ought not make this order or the order be found to be frivolous. Further hearing on the matter was fixed for January 21, 2013.