Lawyer seeks judge withdrawal from N13bn debt case

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A lawyer, Temilolu Adamolekun, has begged a Federal High Court Judge, sitting in Lagos, Justice Abimbola Awogboro, to recuse himself from an alleged N13 billion debt suit.

The lawyer made the appeal for the case file to be returned to the administrative judge for re-assignment to another judge, following the loss of confidence in the judge.

The suit, marked FHC/L/CS/2147/19 was filed by the plaintiffs/applicants Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Gbenga Akinde-Peters Receiver/Manager of Stallion Nigeria Limited.

Five other firms, the THP Limited, The Honda Place Limited, Connoiseur Investment Limited, Premium Seafoods Limited and Onward Fisheries Nigeria Limited are the defendants/respondents. The KPMG Advisory Services is also a respondent.

The GTB, through Mr. Adamolekun, filed the suit against the THP Limited and the four others in 2019 over the alleged N13 billion debt owed by Stallion Nigeria Limited.

Adamolekun’s application, urging the judge to hands off the matter, followed the resumption of hearing on Wednesday, July 20.

The prayers, as contained in his motion on notice, are: “An order that the Hon. Justice Awogboro do recuse/disqualify himself from further adjudicating over this matter, as the applicants have lost confidence on the impartiality of His Lordship to determine this case.

A consequential order that the case file relating to this matter be returned to the Administrative Judge of the Federal High Court Lagos Division for reassignment to another judge of the court for continuation of the matter.”

The grounds upon which the application was brought were that “on July 20, 2022, the matter came up for hearing of pending applications.

The counsel to the plaintiffs informed the court of the pendency of an application for stay of proceedings filed by the plaintiffs and the need for the said application to be heard before any other application filed by any other party in the matter, and that the decision of the lower court on all processes filed before the court would eventually abide by the decision of the Court of Appeal.

“The court attempted to take the defendant’s application dated June 29, 2022, but counsel to the plaintiffs pointed out to the court that it would amount to refusing the application for stay of proceedings even without hearing same.

“Counsel to the defendants then urged the court to make an interim order suspending payment without determining their application of June 29, 2022, an oral application which was in the nature of the same application dated June 29, 2022.

“In reaction, counsel to the plaintiffs told the court that the court being a court of record had no jurisdiction to grant such prayer without a formal application, where the plaintiffs already joined issues on the defendants’ application and in view of the application for Stay of Proceedings.

“His Lordship then advised the defendants to file an exparte application even when parties have joined issues before the court.

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