The presiding Judge of a Federal High Court Chukwujekwu Aneke Ikoyi, Lagos Nigeria has ordered that Wema bank Plc and its six officials cited for contempt for disobeying the order of the court should appear before the court on Monday 17th day of February, 2020 to explain why they should not be sent to prison for flagrant disobedience of the extant positive orders of the court.
The affected officials of the bank are The Managing Director Ademola Adebise,The Chairman Babatunde Kasali, Deputy Managing Director Moruf Oseni, Executive Director Wole Akinleye Executive Director Folake Sanu and the Company Secretary Johnson Lebile.
The order of the court was sequel to two different similar garnishee suits filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer Chief Ajibola Aribisala SAN on behalf of Heritage bank, the first one against Ondo state Government and the Attorney General of the state, and the second one against Idanre local Government Universal Basic Education Authority, Ondo state Government and Attorney General of Ondo state, Heritage bank having obtained judgement against the two parties at an Ondo state high court in the sum of N1 billion out of which N600 million has been paid leaving balance of about N600 million,while the judgement against Idanre local Government Universal basic Education Authority is in the sum of N405,431,460 .98 Heritage bank then initiated garnishee proceeding against the parties in the two suits. On 6th of December 2019 the court made the order nisi against Wema bank Plc absolute attaching the principal judgement sum Of 134,034,175.41,Wema bank Plc,thereafter deposed to affidavit that Ondo state Government has N744,771,993.3 standing to its credit and same has been attached in compliance with the order of the court,but the bank refused to comply with the order of the court to pay the money despite the demand made by Chief Aribisala SAN on behalf of Heritage bank. However Wema bank in its response letter claimed not to comply with the order of the court based on the notice of Appeal and Motion for stay of execution filed by the Ondo state Government at the court of appeal. Thereafter Heritage bank caused the Registrar of the court to issue form 48, Notice of consequence of disobedience of order of the court against the officers of the bank cited for contempt, still the order of the court was not obeyed,hence the need for the issuance of form 49 asking the parties cited for contempt to show cause why order of committal should not be made against them for flagrantly disobeying the orders of the court. On the 5th day of February, 2020 when the matter came up for hearing, Chief Ajibola Aribisala SAN, in his argument and submission before the court contended that it is obvious that parties cited for contempt are not in court and that the court must compel their presence in court, he then urged the court to issue bench warrant against official of Wema bank Plc. cited for contempt to compel them to appear in court. However the counsel for the official of Wema bank cited for contempt, Mr Wemimo Ogunde SAN contended that the form 49 was filed and served on the parties and before then Wema bank has already filed an application for stay of execution pending appeal and that the record of appeal has already been entered at the court of appeal. Consequently,after listening to the two parties the court adjourned till 14th February 2020, for ruling. Justice Aneke in his ruling relating to the two suits said “The said appeal lodge by the parties cited for contempt has nothing to do with the form 49 served on them for their failure to comply with the order of the court in respect to the order made absolute against Wema bank Plc .Accordingly, the parties cited for contempt are hereby given 72 hours from today till Monday 17th of February, 2020 to appear before the court to explain why committal order would not be made against them for flagrant disobedience of the extant positive orders of the court.
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Facebook Announces its New Office in Lagos, Nigeria
As part of its continued commitment and ongoing investment in Africa, Facebook today announced it will be opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria – its second office on the African continent. Aimed at supporting the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region, the office is expected to become operational in H2 2021 and will be the first on the continent to house a team of expert engineers building for the future of Africa and beyond.Facebook’s office will be home to various teams servicing the continent from across the business, including Sales, Partnerships, Policy, Communications as well as Engineers.Commenting, Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Head of New Product Experimentation said: “The opening of our new office in Lagos, Nigeria presents new and exciting opportunities in digital innovations to be developed from the continent and taken to the rest of the world. All across Africa we’re seeing immense talent in the tech ecosystem, and I’m proud that with the upcoming opening of our new office, we’ll be building products for the future of Africa, and the rest of the world, with Africans at the helm. We look forward to contributing further to the African tech ecosystem.” The investment of the new Facebook office follows the 2018 opening of NG_Hub, its first flagship community hub space in Africa in partnership with CcHub, and the 2019 opening of a Small Business Group (SBG) Operations Centre in Lagos, in partnership with Teleperformance. Providing outsourced support to all English-speaking advertisers across Sub-Saharan Africa, the SBG office supports Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) through its Advocacy, Community & Education (ACE) programme, as well as its Marketing Expert sales programmes – all aimed at enabling SMBs to accelerate the growth and development of their businesses. “Our new office in Nigeria presents an important milestone which further reinforces our ongoing commitment to the region”, commented Kojo Boakye, Facebook’s Director of Public Policy, Africa. “Our mission in Africa is no different to elsewhere in the world – to build community and bring the world closer together, and I’m excited about the possibilities that this will create, not just in Nigeria, but across Africa.” Since the opening of its first office in 2015, Facebook has made a number of investments across the continent, aimed at supporting and growing the tech ecosystem, expanding and providing reliable connectivity infrastructures and helping businesses to grow locally, regionally and globally. This includes the recent rollout of its SMB Grants programme in Nigeria and South Africa, aimed at supporting over 900 businesses by providing a combination of cash and ad credits to help small businesses as they rebuild from COVID. The development of 2Africa, the world’s largest subsea cable project that will deliver much needed internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa, as well as its ongoing training programmes across the continent which support various communities including students, SMBs, digital creatives, female entrepreneurs, start-up’s and developers. Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director, Facebook Africa,said: “We’re delighted to be announcing our new office in Nigeria. Five years on from opening our first office on the continent in Johannesburg, South Africa, we’re continuing to invest in and support local talent, as well as the various communities that use our platforms. The office in Lagos will also be key in helping to expand how we service our clients across the continent.”
Billionaire Businessman, Harry Akande, Battles Shoprite
Billionaire Harry Ayoade Akande towers above many of his contemporaries, particularly because he has been in warm embrace of fame for many decades.
Beyond his famed status as a successful businessman, he has also remained very relevant owing to his uncommon brilliance, a quality that has endeared him to many across the globe.
The Agbaoye of Ibadan, who set out to pursue his dreams quite early in life, had served as a business advisor and consultant to many other businessmen, including governments of several nations.
The world-class businessman in the past has scored many firsts in the nation’s business climate to the envy of many of his competitors.
Indeed, he would have scored yet another first in 2005, as the South African retail store, Shoprite, had several meetings with his company, AIC Limited, and agreed his company would be the exclusive operator and manager of its brand across West Africa, except Ghana where the Shoprite brand was already established.
Consequently , there were a series of business meetings between Akande’s representatives and Shoprite Checkers first in South Africa on April 16, 1998 and then at Akande’s office in Victoria Island, Lagos on May 27, 1998.
Shoprite was also said to have flown in representatives who were shown possible locations for retail stores at some locations ,including Lekki Roundabout, Trade fair Complex and Lagos National Theatre, Iganmu.
But when the South African retail giant was ready to commence operations in Nigeria, it allegedly sidelined Akande’s AIC and incorporated another company, Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, and began using the new entity to operate in Nigeria, thereby breaching agreements between them.
The billionaire was upset and this led to a prolonged legal battle with Akande securing a 2018 major victory against the South African retail group for breaching contract between both parties in Suit No LD/488/2010 —AIC Limited (Claimant) v Shoprite Checkers (PTY) Ltd of South Africa and Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited (Defendants).
However, Shoprite owners appealed the judgement, while the Ibadan, Oyo State-born billionaire secured another victory in May 2020 at the appellate court.
Though the three-man panel of Court of Appeal , Lagos Division, didn’t agree to Akande’s cross appeal, demanding 50 per cent of $92.3million as loss of profit he suffered due to the incorporation of Retail Supermarkets Limited, it unanimously affirmed the judgment of a Lagos High Court that awarded $10 million (N4.7 billion) damages against Shoprite Checkers (PTY) Limited.
Apart from the $10 million award, the court had directed the South African retail giant to pay 10 percent per annum on the damages, with effect from the date of judgment until the final liquidation of the entire sum.
Consequently, the shrewd businessman has initiated a fresh legal battle at the Federal High Court to halt Shoprite Checkers’ exit moves out of Nigeria until the entire sum demanded is paid to the last kobo.
The billionaire, through his company, has got an ex-parte application for an order of Mareva Injunction restraining the South African retail giant, its privies, officers, nominees, successors-in-title, subsidiaries or anyone acting through it or by it 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 from the court’s jurisdiction.
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