Obey Court Order Over $4.5m Guarantee, Shipping Company Tells EcoBank
Fred Omotara, Lagos
A shipping company, OAN Overseas Agency Nigeria Limited (OAN), has asked Ecobank Nigeria Plc to obey a Supreme Court judgment directing the bank to pay it the sum of $4,581,774.86.
The judgment debt includes principal sum claimed by OAN Overseas Agency Nigeria Limited plus interest which Ecobank allegedly undertook to pay when it issued a bank guarantee to secure OAN’s claims.
OAN Overseas Agency Nigeria, had in 2006 filed an admiralty action before the Federal High Court against the Vessel MT “Ocean Success” and Master of the Vessel MT “Ocean Success” and Bronwen Energy Trading Ltd.
OAN had claimed the sum of $1,986,939.97 as outstanding debt against Bronwen Energy Trading for port and cargo dues, ships’ charges and agency fees, as well as interest.
Ecobank, in order to secure the claims of OAN at the Federal High Court, issued a bank guarantee, numbered EBN/1346 on December 1, 2006 in favour of OAN Overseas Agency for $1.9million or whatever sum that may be adjudged by the Federal High Court and appellate courts on behalf of Bronwen Energy Trading Ltd.
On March 14, 2011, Justice Dan Abutu (former Chief Judge), awarded OAN the sum of $1,986,939.97 with interest at the rate of 15 per cent per annum from November 23, 2006, to March 14, 2011, and another simple interest on the judgment sum at the rate of six per cent per annum until full liquidation.
Bronwen Energy Trading appealed against the judgment. On December 9, 2014, the Court of Appeal delivered judgment on the appeal lodged by Bronwen Energy Trading, allowing the appeal in part, while sustaining the judgment of the Federal High Court.
But OAN Overseas Agency Nigeria appealed to the Supreme Court against the part of the judgment not favourable to it.
It challenged the part of the judgment of the Court of Appeal where the Court awarded $400,000 in favour of Bronwen Energy Trading without proof as required by law.
On February 18, 2022, the Supreme Court affirmed the Federal High Court and Court of Appeal judgments in favour of OAN Overseas Agency Nigeria sustaining the awards of the sum of $1,986,939.97 plus interest and dismissed Bronwen’s cross-apeal.
Justice Yellim Bogoro adjourned the suit to October 4 to enable parties in the matter to sort out the issue of service of processes on the second defendant.