$47m Debt: “Your Application Lacking In Merit, Abuse Of Court Processes”, Court Tells Shoprite ….Gives Shoprite 14-Day Ultimatum To Comply With Justice Liman’s Order

Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa of a Lagos Federal High Court, dismissed an application filed by the promoters of the largest retailing store in Nigeria, Shoprite Checker (PYT), to discharge an Exparte order, stopping it from relocating out of Nigeria over alleged $47 million USD debt.Justice Lewis-Allagoa dismissed application to discharge the Exparte Orders, today, while delivering ruling in an application filed by the ShopRite.

Justice Mohammed Liman, (now sitting at another jurisdisction of the court) had on August 17, 2020, while granting an Exparte application filed and argued by Prof. Taiwo Oshinpitan (SAN), counsel to A.I.C. Limited in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/881/2020.In the A. I. C’s application against Shoprite Checker (PTY) Limited, others listed as second to fourth respondents are: Retail Supermarket Nigeria Limited, The Registrar of Trademarks and National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP).In the mareva application, A. I. C Limited, had asked the court for and order restraining Shoprite Checker (PTY), described as a Judgment Debtor, 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.The applicant, which described itself as judgement creditor, also asked the court for an order of Mareva injunction restraining Shoprite Checkers (PYT) its privies, officers, nominees, successors-in-title, subsidiaries or anyone acting through it or by it from transferring, assigning, charging, disposing of its other assets including but not limited to trade receivables, trade payables, payment for purchase of merchandise within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court.It also asked the court for an order of Mareva Injunction restraining Shoprite Checker, its privies, officers, nominees, successors-in-title, subsidiaries or anyone acting through it or by it from transferring, assigning, charging, disposing of its other assets including but not limited to trade receivables, trade payables, payment for purchase of merchandise within the jurisdiction of the Court.The applicant also requested for an order restraining Retail Supermarket Nigeria Limited, from making any financial payments whether by itself, privies. officers, nominees, successors-in-title, subsidiaries or anyone acting through it or by it to Shoprite Checker under the Administration and Technical Services Agreement between the Shoprite and it, in order not to render the Judgment of the Court of Appeal in Suit No: CA/L/288/2018 nugatory or the anticipated judgment from the Supreme Court in the appeal filed by it.It further asked for an order of the court compelling and mandating the Retail Supermarket Nigeria Limited, to disclose its Audited Financial Statements for the years ending 2018 and 2019 to enable it determine the amount of the Shoprite Checker’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.A.I.C Limited also asked the court to restraining the Registrar of Trademarks, from recognizing any sale or assignment of any trademark, franchise of whatever kind reflecting any transaction by either Shoprite Checker or the Retail Supermarket Nigeria Limited, in connection with the corporate existence or approving any pending royalty(ies), interest, management fee, trade payment for the Shoprite Checker Limited, of the anticipated judgment turn but not less than $12.4 Million US Dollars and 10% post judgement interest per annum of the subsisting valid judgment debt.The applicant also asked the court for an Order compelling and mandating the fourth Respondent (NOTAP) to disclose all pending requests by the Respondent for accrued payment in favour of Shoprite Checker, to be remitted outside Nigeria. And an order directing Shoprite Checker and Retail Supermarket Nigeria Limited, to maintain the status quo by preserving the terms of the Administration and Technical Services Agreement in order not to render the judgment of the Court of Appeal in this Suit No. Appeal No: CA/L/288/2018, nugatoryA.I.C. limited equally asked for an order directing the second respondent to file an Affidavit to show compliance with the Court’s Orders, within seven days of service of orders.Justice Liman, had granted the application after listening to the submissions of Prof. Oshinpintan (SAN) on the exparte application and affidavit in support, deposed to by one Joshua Oluwagbemiga Akinyemi, granted to all the reliefs sought by A.I.C. Limited against Shoprite Checker (PYT) Limited and other respondents.Dissatisfied with the order, ShopRite Checker (PYT) Limited approached the court with application to set aside and discharge the order. The application which was equally countered by the Judgment creditor, A. I. C. Limited.Delivering ruling on the arguments canvassed by parties today, Justice Lewis-Allagoa described Shoprite Checker (PYT) Limited as ‘lacking in merit, abuse of court processes and dismissed same accordingly.

Justice Lewis-Allagoa also gives Shoprite Checker (PYT) Limited 14 days, to comply with the orders made by Justice Liman. While adjourned till July 14, for the alleged judgment debtor, Shoprite Checker (PYT), to file and show compliance.

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