Akingbola challenges Lagos High Court’s jurisdiction to enforce London court judgment

Erastus Akingbola

A British Court ordered Mr. Akingbola to pay Access Bank N212 billion

A former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Erastus Akingbola, on Thursday challenged the jurisdiction of a Lagos High Court to register a judgment against him by a London court.

The High Court of Justice, Queens Bench, London, had on August 1, 2012, ordered Mr. Akingbola to pay Access Bank £654 million (N212.2 billion) for some fraudulent practices committed when he was in charge of the defunct bank.

Access Bank acquired Intercontinental Bank Plc on January 31, 2012.

In order to enforce the judgment in Nigeria, Access Bank filed an ex-parte application before Justice A.A Oyebanji of a Lagos High Court.

It sought registration of the judgment and the accompanying order of Justice Michael Burton, dated September 13, 2012.

In her ruling, Justice Oyebanji ordered Mr. Akingbola to pay Access Bank N212.2 billion (the judgment sum).

However, in an application dated September 27, 2013 and filed by his lawyer, Wole Olanipekun before Justice Babajide Candide-Johnson, Mr. Akingbola prayed the court to quash the registration of the judgment for lack of jurisdiction.

Arguing the application, Mr. Olanipekun said that the judgment creditor (Access bank) failed to comply with condition precedent before the registration could be completed. He submitted that Section 251 of the Constitution vested the jurisdiction on Federal High Court and not on State High Court.

The lawyer said that the suit filed in London by Access Bank was before a Commercial Division of the court, which is equivalent of the Federal High Court in Nigeria.

Mr. Olanipekun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, also argued that the judgment was not certified in compliance with the rules of the London court. He argued that this rendered it invalid.

He further argued that the judgment debtor (Mr. Akingbola) was not put on notice before the registration of the foreign judgment in Nigeria.

Citing plethora of legal authorities, Mr. Akingbola’s counsel prayed the court to allow the application and set aside the ex-parte order.

The Counsel to Access Bank, Olaniwun Ajayi, in a counter-affidavit dated October 10, 2013, said that efforts by the court bailiff to serve Mr. Akingbola before the registration of the judgment proved abortive.

According to him, the former bank chief evaded service.

On the issue of jurisdiction, Mr. Ajayi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, submitted that the proposition that only the Federal High Court had jurisdiction to register foreign judgments should be discountenanced.

He submitted that the State High Courts had unlimited power to look into the matter.

According to him, the Registration and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Cap 175 of 1958, and Section 272 of the Constitution empower the State High Courts to adjudicate on the matter.

On the issue of certification of judgment, Mr. Ajayi submitted that it would be against public interest if the court refused to enforce a “money judgment’’

He further informed the court that Mr. Akingbola appealed against the judgment in London and that his appeal was refused.

Mr. Ajayi urged the court to dismiss the application and allow the registration of the judgment.

The judge adjourned the case to February 18 for ruling.

(NAN)

 


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  • Bazamfare

    Mr. Akingbola, or Sorry ! Animal Akingbola because you dont deserve a Mr.Title. so you still have the Guts to Challenge your conviction despite the clemency of the London court. Wonders shall never end in Nigeria. Many innocent people died because of your greed and primitive accumulation. Those who survive still bears the scars and pains of what you did. May your concience NEVER rest in Peace. Ole.

  • Enemona

    This guy’s case should have been dead and buried by now if this country were to be serious. This is Nigeria’s equivalent of Bernard Madoff and they are done with their own bandit already, why have we not locked this man up for eternity? Why?. This Jankara market justice system would see to his exoneration by all means and if he plays his cards right, he might even become a senator.

    We should remember that the effects of his deliberate and evil deeds are still very much alive. Many children have been rendered homeless and some have dropped out of school because of his avarice. A time shall come when the right-minded individuals would take over the reigns of power and deal with people like Akingbola for good. Y’all need to see this man in church in his hay days, he was as fervent as the pope himself, it’s shocking to know that in there lies a big thief! Which thief in Nigeria is not fervent?

  • Ireti Fatomilola

    Erastus Akingbola or what do you call yourself, please bury head in shame. You are part of the gory shame of this country called Nigeria. You are a negation of decency-Too bad.