More trouble for Justice Yunusa ‎as Honeywell Group petitions Chief Justice over ‘judicial misconduct’

Nigeria's Supreme Court

The Honeywell Group has petitioned the ‎Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed, over alleged acts of judicial misconduct against Mohammed Yunusa, a judge of the Federal High Court.

In a petition addressed to the Nigerian Judicial Commission, the Honeywell Group accused Justice Yunusa of endorsing several abuses of court processes by a senior lawyer.

“We respectfully submit that the various acts of Yunusa. J with respect to the dispute between Honeywell and Ecobank constitute unfair conduct which have had and are still having grave impact on our company and its operations,” read the petition dated February 12th and also copied to the National Judicial Council and the President of the Nigerian Bar Association.

“Indeed, our company with an asset base of N68 billion and annual revenue of about N55 billion with over 5,000 employees and several distributors has been subjected to unfair restrictions using the instrumentality of the court.”

The petition came amidst claims that the judge received a N225,000 ‘bribe’ from Rickey Tarfa, another senior lawyer who is currently facing prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Honeywell Group vs Ecobank‎

In 2012, Honeywell Group began discussions with Ecobank over the indebtedness of the former’s three operating companies – Anchorage Leisures Limited, Siloam Global Services, and Honeywell Flour Mills Plc – to Oceanic Bank before it was acquired by the latter.

The negotiations between the two organizations resulted in an ‎agreement of N3.5 billion to be paid to the bank by the Honeywell Group, a payment which was completed in January 2014, according to the petition.

But 11 months later, Ecobank allegedly reneged ‎on the agreement and refused to issue letters of discharge to the Honeywell companies or update their accounts accordingly on the CBN CRMS portal.

“As a result of Ecobank’s refusal to fulfil its obligations, Honeywell petitioned the Bankers Committee Sub-committee on Ethics and Professionalism for its intervention for a speedy resolution of the matter,” the Honeywell Group stated in the petition.

“Following a thorough review of the petition and the positions canvassed by both Parties, a ruling was issued in favour of Honeywell to the effect that the agreement reached between Ecobank and Honeywell for the payment of N3.5 billion as full and final settlement of Honeywell’s indebtedness to Ecobank is valid and should be complied with.

“Despite the decision of the Bankers Committee, Ecobank continued to refuse to fulfil its obligations and insisted that Honeywell was indebted to the Bank.”

As a result of the bank’s alleged refusal, the Honeywell Group in August last year instituted a suit against Ecobank at the Federal High Court, Lagos, a matter still pending before Justice Mohammed Idris.

In September last year, Ecobank, through its counsel, Kunle Ogunba, filed an application before the judge challenging the jurisdiction of the court on the basis that the dispute ought to be decided at the State High Court since it was a contract issue, and not a banker/customer relationship.

One month later, according to the petition, Ecobank filed a winding up petition before Justice James Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Lagos,‎ on the same facts as the case before Justice Idris.

“Surprisingly, the suit is in the same Federal High Court which Ecobank had challenged jurisdiction to hear the matter,” the petition stated.

Along with the suit, Ecobank further filed a motion exparte seeking “far reaching restraining orders” against Honeywell Flour Mills Plc.

“Tsoho. J. heard the exparte application and refused same because of the pending suit before Idris. J.‎ as well as the fact that the documents attached to the motion showed that the alleged debt was in dispute.

“Ecobank was thereafter directed to put Honeywell Flour Mills Plc on Notice.”

The Yunusa connection

However, instead of putting Honeywell Flour Mills Plc on Notice as directed by Justice Tsoho, Ecobank filed another winding up petition before Justice Mohammed Yunusa‎ “in exactly repetitive terms as the one before Tsoho. J. Ecobank also exhibited the same documents as the ones in the matter before Tsoho. J. in which he had refused to grant the exparte order.”

On 18th November, 2015, Justice Yunusa granted the exparte orders and adjourned the matter till 24th December, 2015.

‎The Honeywell Group stated it immediately filed an application for the discharge of the exparte order and dismissal of the suit before Justice Yunusa on two grounds – abuse of court process (in view of the suit before Justices Idris and Tsoho on the same facts and between the same parties), and the fact that exparte orders of injunction were granted by Justice Yunusa in a winding up petition in which the respondent was not allowed a hearing and for a sum that was being disputed.

“On 4th of December, 2015‎, Yunusa. J directed that all other cases coming up on that day be adjourned such that when he eventually sat to read the ruling, the court room was almost empty.

“Yunusa. J disallowed our application for the discharge of exparte orders made by him on the ground that the said exparte orders granted were in the nature of Mareva injunctions.

“He further stated that he did not see any reason why the alleged Mareva injunctions should be discharged. He specifically held that he was exercising what he termed as ‘Mareva jurisdiction.'”

The petition stated that the judge, in the ruling, refused to comment on all the issues raised before him, including that of abuse of court process.

He also ruled that Honeywell was heavily indebted to Ecobank, adding that the former did not deny the indebtedness.

“This we found incomprehensible as Yunusa. J had in his handwritten transcript of the proceedings recorded our counsel as submitting that there was no indebtedness and that the exparte orders granted by him had earlier been refused by Tsoho. J.”

After his ruling, the petition said the judge announced that a copy would be made available for collection on the same day.

“Unfortunately, however, despite repeated demands and subsequent filing of a motion for the release of the ruling, Yunusa. J refused to release the ruling until after a notice of appeal had been filed before the Court of Appeal on the 4th February, 2016 (60 days after the ruling was delivered on the 4th of December, 2015).

“We are aware that Section 24(2)(a) of the Court of Appeal Act allows us only 14 days to file an interlocutory appeal. Though we filed a Notice of Appeal from notes taken by our counsel on 4th December, 2015, Yunusa. J refused to release the ruling and case file in order to enable us completely transmit the records of appeal and also fully exercise our constitutionally guaranteed right of appeal within the time allowed.

“Order 6(b) of the Court of Appeal Practice Directions also mandates that records of appeal are transmitted within 7 days of filing a Notice of Appeal. In all of these, our rights were asphyxiated by Yunusa. J’s conduct.

“Indeed, on 27th January, 2016, when the appeal came up at the Court of Appeal, the ruling of Yunusa. J was yet to be released. We again remind your Lord Justice Sir, that we had earlier written a letter dated 11th December, 2015, to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court which was copied to your goodself and Yunusa. J amongst others complaining that he was yet to release his ruling but same did not make any impression on Yunusa. J.”

The petition called for appropriate disciplinary actions against Justice Yunusa for his “acts of misconduct.”

Justice Yunusa could not be reached to comment for this story.

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  • Spoken word

    This judge is no better than an armed robber.

    • Julius

      He is worst. All he need is a pen and does more damage than an armed robber that do not shoot anyone.He used the backing of the law .

  • BobSolo

    Judges beware…your days of given judgement for money are over….Stupid Rickey Tarfa as exposed you

  • Onike24

    There are no words……..

    • Sincerely Yours

      Speechless? Right.

      • Onike24

        Completely

  • tundemash

    Only God knows how many “Yunusas” are in the judiciary when President Buhari said, a few weeks ago,that the judiciary was a problem in the ongoing “witch-hunt” of corrupt officials, the PDPigs and their army of crumb-catchers on this forum went wailing as usual.

    • Julius

      Yes, the’ fake’ rule of law and the witch- hunt crowds are quiet. Buhari knew what he was talking about after all !

    • John

      Hmmm!! I really believe you don’t wish to know, because if the true record is let out, I bet you would be shocked to your bone marrow. I’m also a victim to the worse treatment against humanity by the so-called judges and their cohorts (SANs). In my own case, I must make sure I come out a “Victor” and expose them the more. They thought I would chicken out like other people who they intimidate, and make them lick their wounds in pain, and drop the matter at the lower court, after manipulating the judge, whom I wouldn’t like his name mentioned for now, since the matter is still at the appeal court. Like I said, we have gone on appeal, and would come out victorious and triumphantly.

      • Spikey

        Go for it John. Nigeria needs more people like you.

  • Prophet

    Watch how all cases decided by this judge are nitpicked apart because of his greed.
    Imagine the waste of time. resources and funds it will cause to re-litigate all his cases should interested parties deem it necessary. Useless man.

  • Ashibogu

    They should place Justice Yunusa under watch before he runs away! Agbada don hook for barb wire! Why is the senior lawyer? Abi na the Rickety guy again?

  • Mamman

    Some mothers do have ’em….him mama curse am?

  • Amir

    Dishonourable Yunusa disgraced himself soliciting for money from lawyers just like a beggar and paper. Nevertheless what he received is a child’s play compared to the life pension amount paid by Ibori to Awokulehin.

  • Abate Dokpu

    I am thoroughly ashamed of the disgraceful conduct of lawyers and Judges in this country. And it has been so for a long time. Anyone remember Justice Auta? This was the man that Abacha used to judicially murder Ken Saro Wiwa. One would have though that such character should have exited the judiciary after the Abacha inglorious years. Guess what? That man, Justice Auta, is now the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court. So what do you expect from such a court? What about the Shell (lawyer) persecutor of Saro Wiwa, OCJ Okocha? He became a SAN. The legal profession, lawyers and judges, need thorough scrutiny and possible purge. In the first place, the institution of Senior Advocate of Nigeria needs to be abolished. Lawyers actually bribe their ways to be SANs. Many of these characters absolutely have no integrity. I have seen SANs suborn witnesses.They engage in all sorts of unethical practices including ex parte communication with Judges, they collect monies from clients to bribe judges, they bully and intimidate judges and opposing counsel,etc. Indeed, most of them are dishonorable characters. They revel in perpetrating injustice. Judges, up to the Supreme court, are now purveyors of injustice. They sanction murder and election brigandage. They see white and use judicial coloration to call it red or even black. Shame on the legal profession in Nigeria. Whatever they do, they should remember that, they too will die one day. Msssssssheeeeeeew!

    • Prophet

      You tainted your reasonable comment with politics.

  • bib

    Whoever said we didn’t need PMB. Under the impunity of GEJ, Yunusa J would have gone scotch free. Yunusa J note GEJ is in Otueke.

  • wazobia scatter!!!!!!

    oh God,kill yunusa J before he kills us ……………………………ALL cases handled by him since he became a judge must be reviewed ………………………………..what a shame …………………….

    • Prophet

      Do unto others……before they do unto you, right?

  • Historee

    COUNTRIES BUHARI HAS VISITED IN JUST NINE MONTHS (300 DAYS) IN OFFICE

    1) Niger Republic (May 2015).

    2) Chad (June 2015).

    3) Germany (June 2015).

    4) South Africa (June 2015).

    5) United Kingdom (May 2015).

    6) United States of America (July 2015).

    7) Benin Republic (August 2015).

    8) France (September 2015).

    9) Ghana (September 2015).

    10) India (October 2015).

    TO BE CONTINUED…………………….

    • Historee

      11) Sudan (October 2015).

      12) Iran (November 2015).

      13) France (November 2015).

      14) United States of America (November 2015).

      15) South Africa (December 2015).

      16) Benin Republic. (December 2015).

      17) United Arab Emirates (January 2016).

      18) Kenya (January 2016).

      19) Ethiopia (January 2016).

      20) France (February 2016).

      21) United Kingdom (February 2016).

      22) Egypt (February 2016).

      NEXT WEEK PRESIDENT BUHARI WILL GO TO…….

      23) Saudi Arabia (February 2016).

      24) Qatar (February 2016).

      • Your reasoning and behaviour show whether you are wise or not. Your post is out of tune with the issue at stake here. This shows you have no head.

        • Koku S.

          @disqus_lzpVDXc1cM:disqus

          BUT I LIKE THE POST. IT TELLS ME WHY THE NAIRA IS LOSING VALUE EVERYDAY.

          IT ALSO TELLS ME WHY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SAID THERE IS NOW AN ABSOLUTE

          LOSS OF CONFIDENCE IN NIGERIA’S ECONOMY UNDER MUHAMADU BUHARI’S GOVERNMENT.

      • Observer

        wetin travelling and Judiciary corruption get to do with each other? or is it unconstitutional for the president to travel? mumu… we are feeling the old man, hug transformer for all i care

  • Nosa I.

    Premium Times Editor,

    Excuse me, please! What is so difficult for National Judicial Council (NJC) to do here. Why retain Judge Yunusa on the job,
    when he can be more easily suspended until his alleged bribe-taking notoriety is fully resolved? Why does NJC need to
    bring down the roof; disgrace the judiciary, mock the law, and tar justice for the sake of Judge Yunusa – whose discretion
    is dubious, as demonstrated in this HONEYWELL CASE. A sensible Judge who can think properly will prudently defer
    to the final administrative finding of the BANKERS COMMITTEE as the experts on the question of whether or not
    Honeywell has made a full and final payment to Eco Bank, according to the rules and custom of banking trade.

    • Akus Namey

      MAYBE SUSPENSION IS NOT IN THE RULES OF NATIONAL JUDICIAL COUNCIL.
      OTHERWISE, THE COUNCIL SHOULD NOT NEED A REMINDER TO SUSPEND –
      SO AS TO PRESERVE WHATEVER IS LEFT OF THE DIGNITY OF A JUDICIARY;
      A NOW STINKING JUDICIARY IN NEED OF A VERY POWERFUL DETERGENT.

  • Nosa I.

    My People:

    Excuse me, please! What is so difficult for National Judicial Council (NJC) to do here. Why retain Judge Yunusa on the job,
    when he can be more easily suspended until his alleged bribe-taking notoriety is fully resolved? Why does NJC need to
    bring down the roof, disgrace the judiciary, mock law and justice for the sake of Judge Yunusa whose discretion is
    dubious, as demonstrated in this HONEYWELL CASE. A sensible Judge who can think properly will prudently defer
    to the administrative finding of the BANKERS COMMITTEE as the experts on the question of whether or not
    Honeywell has made a full and final payment to Eco Bank, according to the rules and custom of banking trade.

    • Public Records

      “The EFCC Prosecuting Team – comprising five Senior Advocates of Nigeria;
      namely: [1] Joseph Daudu (S.A.N), [2] Koyin Ajayi (S.A.N) , [3] Emmanuel Ukala (S.A.N),
      [4] A.B Mahmoud (S.A.N) , and [5] Damien Dodo [S.A.N] ) was indulging in professional
      incompetence to the extreme – and was unmindful of Erastus Akingbola’s right to have
      the case against him clearly stated. I shall be referring the conduct of these
      Senior Advocates to the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee –
      which awards S.A.N titles – for a determination.”

      …..Justice Charles Archibong, Federal High Court

      [April 2, 2012]

      • ojays

        Hummmm, the case in question needs be investigated. All the SANS named above are of questionable character. Are we sure they did not take bribe from Akingbola to mess up the case.

  • zebra crossing

    Guys,

    A sensible Judge,
    who can think properly, will wisely defer to the administrative decision made by the
    BANKERS COMMITTEE (as the experts on the question of whether or not Honeywell
    has made a full and final payment to Eco Bank), according to the rules and custom
    of the banking trade.

    What is now so difficult for National Judicial Council (NJC)
    to do here? Why retain Judge Yunusa on the job, when he can be more easily
    suspended until his alleged bribe-taking case is fully resolved? Why does NJC
    need to bring down the roof; disgrace the judiciary, mock the law and tar
    justice on its face for the sake of Judge Yunusa whose discretion is dubious,
    as demonstrated, again, in this HONEYWELL CASE?

    • Wwww

      @disqus_lzpVDXc1cM:disqus

      For all that, Nigeria may not escape the fate of a failed state. The country is sinking without floaters.
      No sets of useful ideas are put forward by the country’s rogue ruling class of thieves and charlatans.

      So, the country staggers from crisis to crisis, over bribes and thefts on a daily basis, failing at each step,

      and, still unable to draw up a national budget without padding it with thefts – whilst being mentally unable
      to save itself from predictable explosion in wholesale violence.

  • O.A.U

    Thousands of Nigerian Law students in
    universities await the court decision on EFCC v. Ricky Tarfa to guide their
    own conduct as future lawyers. They are interested in one question and in one
    question only; i.e. IS IT ethical for a lawyer to ask for a Judge’s bank
    account number; and, is it right for a Judge to agree to give the lawyer his bank
    account for the purpose of receiving money to be privately paid by the lawyer
    to the Judge; regardless of the purpose, during the pendency of a court case in
    which the lawyer is appearing before the same Judge in the court?

    • Burning Spear

      Why did MTN refuse to disclose details of telephone recordings between Salami former Appeal Court Judge and the legal team of Tinubu—–?———But the same MTN turned around to do what they had ealier refused to provide for the Government of Jonathan—to Buhari–ati hsi fake anti corruption war via Magu—–Again who is behind—-this woman from the Republic of Benin in Nigeria–is it Osibanjo, Obj or Buhari——-Nigerians have the right to know—-Already SERAP as it is usual with them–I mean the legal arm and NGO of the Apes in APC–have decided–to sue the judge YANUSA over the alleged 244,000 bribe—–I laugh

      • Oluyemo Olusegun

        What makes a bribe worthy of being prosecuted, that is, how hefty should it be?

        You have not articulated anything, you are just spewing out nonsense. Your thought betrayed you as a very corrupt man. Bury your head in shame.

  • Burning Spear

    Another media trial by EFCC————–But wait a minute—–Is this not the same case in which Magu the GRA GRA-SHOW MAN of EFCC, who is currently at war with the Judiciary and the NBA? And who told all the Apes in Apc who cared to listen to his (tales by moon light) that a firm like Honeywell with an Asset base of 68b, and an annual turn -over of 55b saw a Judge collect N244,000 as bribe? A High Court Judge taking less than $1,000 bribe from Ricky Tarfa over a company whose asset base is more than 68b? As a matter of fact, these rogues from the Republic of Benin, with very serious connection in Aso Rock, is not only having trouble with Yunusa but Justice Tsoho as well–Again who in APC is behind this woman from the Republic of Benin’ Is it the Chambers of the VP-OSIBANJO-President Buhari or Obj?–Who are the share holders in this firm from the Republic of Benin that made a Nigerian judge take a bribe of less than 900 dollars? THE NIGERIAN PUBLIC HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW-to know the faces of those behind this case————————-over to the investigative reporters in Premium Times–who often claim to be the arrow heads of investigative journalism in Nigeria———————————-waiting and wait we will sha—

  • Otile

    For goodness sake who is the present Petroleum Minister? Why are things going zigzag in 9ja these days?