A Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on Monday declined to hear an application to lift an injunction barring South African retail company, Shoprite Checkers (PTY) Limited, from transferring its assets.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo said the matter is not urgent enough to be heard during the court’s vacation.
Nigerian courts are currently on vacation and would resume on September 28. Only cases of “extreme urgency,” arrest of ship, and fundamental rights cases are to be entertained during the vacation, according to a circular by the chief judge on the federal high court, John Tsoho.
In the suit, Shoprite is seeking to overturn a July 14 “mareva injunction” by Justice Mohammed Liman of the federal high court in favour of a Nigerian firm, A.I.C. Limited.
A mareva injunction is a court order preventing an asset from being taken out of a country.
Mr Liman restrained Shoprite “from transferring, assigning, charging, disposing of its trademark, franchise and intellectual property in a manner that will alter, dissipate or remove these non-cash assets and other assets, including but not limited to trade receivables, trade payables, payment for purchase of merchandise, from within the jurisdiction of this honourable court.”
The judge also mandated Retail Supermarket Limited, the Nigerian subsidiary of the Shoprite Group, “to disclose its audited financial statements for the years ending 2018 and 2019 to enable the judgment creditor/applicant determine the judgment debtor’s/respondent’s funds in its custody in order to preserve same in satisfaction of the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Appeal No: CA/L/288/2018.”
Last month, Shoprite officially announced its decision to discontinue operations in Nigeria “following approaches from various potential investors, and in line with our reevaluation of the group’s operating model in Nigeria.”
In 2018, A.I.C. Limited secured a $10 million judgment against Shoprite in a breach of contract lawsuit.
The $10m judgment was entered in favour of A.I.C. Limited against Shoprite by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of the Ikeja Division of the Lagos State High Court.
In May, a Court of Appeal in Lagos affirmed the state high court’s judgment that Shoprite breached its contract with A.I.C Limited.
Shoprite has appealed at the Supreme Court.