Court Rules in Favor of Honeywell Flour Mills: Ecobank Ordered to Pay N72.2 Billion in Damages

In a significant legal victory, Ecobank, one of Africa’s commercial banks, has been ordered by Justice Liman of the Federal High Court in Lagos to pay the sum of N72.2 billion in damages to Honeywell Flour Mills Plc.

The ruling comes as a result of a suit filed by Honeywell Flour Mills against Ecobank in 2018 (FHC/L/CS/1554/2018), seeking redress for losses incurred due to an ex-parte asset freezing order obtained by Ecobank Nigeria in 2015.

Honeywell Flour Mills had argued that Ecobank had given an oath to indemnify the company if the ex-parte orders were found to be frivolous. Following the Supreme Court’s determination that the ex-parte orders were indeed improper, Honeywell Flour Mills pursued damages for the financial losses and harm inflicted on their business operations by Ecobank’s actions.

In delivering the judgment, Justice Liman affirmed the plaintiff’s right to the damages sought, stating that “The plaintiff’s right to the damages sought had crystallized, and the plaintiff had a right to maintain this action.” He dismissed Ecobank’s arguments against the damages, affirming that the claims brought by Honeywell Flour Mills were well-founded.

Counsel to Honeywell Flour Mills, Bode Olanipekun, SAN, praised the court’s decision, considering it a commendable precedent in an underexplored area of jurisprudence. The court granted all four reliefs sought by Honeywell Flour Mills, totaling N72.2 billion.

The judgment serves as a landmark ruling, highlighting the importance of adherence to legal processes and reaffirming the principle of indemnification in cases involving ex-parte orders. As the case concludes, the implications for financial institutions and their obligations to clients in similar circumstances may come under closer scrutiny.

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