The Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday adjourned until July 10 for hearing or report of settlement in a $14m debt lawsuit between Sahara Group Limited and Ecobank Nigeria Limited.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa adjourned the case at the instance of the parties, which prayed to be given time to explore possible amicable settlement of the case out of court.
As soon as the case was called in court on Friday, Sahara Group Limited’s lawyer, Mr Bode Olanipekun (SAN), told the judge that he had been in discussion with Ecobank’s lawyer, Mr Kunle Ogunba (SAN), towards a possible amicable resolution of the dispute.
“We agreed that the court should grant a short adjournment to see if we are able to reach an amicable agreement between the parties,” Olanipekun said.
Confirming the development to the judge, Ogunba said, “That is very accurate.”
Consequently, Justice Aikawa adjourned until July 10 for either reporting of settlement or hearing of pending applications, in case the parties fail to agree.
Sahara Energy Resources Limited, Isle of Man and Sahara Group Limited had dragged Ecobank to court seeking an order to stop the bank from carrying out a “unilateral review of interest rates” on loans obtained by the oil firms.
But Ecobank filed a counter-claim, insisting that it “reserves the right to review its interest rates from time to time in line with prevailing market conditions.”
The bank claimed that based on computation, Sahara Energy Resources Limited and Sahara Group Limited were indebted to it in the sum of $14,069458.30 “being the principal sum and interest due to the counter-claimant as of 21st August 2019.”
Ecobank said though the oil firms had offered to pay it $9,125,119.34 “as the full and final settlement of their indebtedness,” it remained firm in its demand for $14,069,458.30 as their debt as of August 21, 2019.
However, the bank urged the court to, in the meantime, order the oil firms to immediately pay the $9,125,11934, which they had allegedly admitted “after the joint reconciliation carried out by parties.”