Monday, 27 March 2017

Arik Air asks court to disqualify AMCON’s receiver manager

Arik Air asks court to disqualify AMCON’s receiver manager

Arik Air last Friday told the Federal High Court in Lagos that the process leading to the take over of the airline by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) was improper.
AMCON had on February 8, 2017 announced the take over of Arik Air.

The corporation said it took over the airline to save it from collapse and in the best interest of the general public, workers, creditors and other interest groups in the aviation sector.
A legal practitioner, Mr. Oluseye Opasanya (SAN) of the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP, was appointed as the receiver manager of Arik Air Limited following its takeover.
By an exparte application on February 8, AMCON secured an injunction restraining Arik Air’s “shareholders, directors, creditors, managers, officers, employees, servants, consultants, agents, representatives, privies” from interfering Opasanya’s power to manage Arik.
But four persons who were aggrieved by the court order – Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, Chris Ndule, Dr. Michael Arumemi-Ikhide and Sangowawa Olubiyi – filed a preliminary objection through their lawyer, Mr. Babajide Koku (SAN).
They accused the lawyer representing AMCON and Opasanya, Prof. Kayinsola Ajayi (SAN), of engaging in professional misconduct and urged the court to void all the processes so far filed by Ajayi on behalf of AMCON and Opasanya.
The grounds of their objection was that Ajayi and Opasanya are both lawyers practising in the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP.
Koku argued that by virtue of Rule 17 of Professional Conduct of Legal Practitioners 2007, neither Ajayi nor any other lawyer from the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP could appear in a case where Opasanya is a plaintiff. Opposing the preliminary objection, however, Ajayi argued that there was a distinction between Opasanya and the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP where Opasanya works and there was no law stopping anyone from the law firm from representing Opasanya.
Besides, Ajayi also filed a preliminary objection challenging the locus standi of Koku’s clients to file the preliminary objection.
He argued that they were not parties in the suit in question which AMCON and Opasanya filed against Arik and the Inspector-General of Police.
He described them as interlopers who should not be heard and urged Justice Mohammed Idris who is hearing the case to dismiss the preliminary objection by Koku’s clients.
Citing a plethora of authorities, Ajayi said the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP and Opasanya were two different entities.
He urged the court to dismissed Arik Air’s objection.
After hearing both preliminary objections, the presiding judge, Justice Idris, adjourned the case till May 15, 2017 for ruling.

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