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2.5% Equity Shares of Indorama Eleme Petrochemical Company Limited: Appeal Court Dismiss Application Challenging Ownership

The Court of Appeal today dismissed an appeal challenging the decision of the National Industrial Court over ownership of the 2.5% equity shares of Indorama Eleme petrochemicals company limited.

The National Industrial Court earlier dismissed an application seeking to set aside an Arbitral judgement awarded and enforced by the Federal high court.

The newly employed staff of the company, Indorama Eleme petrochemicals company limited filed a suit in CA/PH/ 209/2018: Between Kendrick Oluka & Ors Vs Bala Marama & Ors, contending the legality of the shares, they argued that Existed Staff of the company who are members of the Co-operative should not continue benefitting from the dividends as they are no longer staff of the company and as such should be replaced by the newly employed staff

But the Industrial Court declined jurisdiction to entertain the application declined jurisdiction stating that the federal High Court that granted the order enforcing the arbitral award is a court of equal jurisdiction.

Dissatisfied with the judgment of the industrial court, the Appellants approached the court of appeal to set aside the judgement of the industrial court and also to uphold their argument.

But the Appeal court today 24th September 2021, dismissed the Appeal and affirmed the judgment of the National Industrial Court.

However, the Appeal court determined and resolved this appeal on the following grounds;

(a) The ground that the Judgment of the National Industrial Court was granted on a day that is the Court’s vacation.

The Appeal Court held that since there is no injustice suffered by the Appellants, the ground was resolved in favour of the Exited staff and Cooperative.

(b) The ground that the National Industrial Court should have set aside the decision of the Federal High Court.

The court held that both courts are courts of equal jurisdiction.

(c) The ground seeking the National Industrial Court to determine the substantive suit rather than saying the appeal is an academic exercise to delve into the substantive suit after same has been dismissed.

So the court refused to grant the ground.

The Court of Appeal dismissing the appeal resolved this ground by saying that since the Federal High Court in Portharcourt has enforced the arbitral decision, going into the same substance of the case will amount to upturning the decision of a court of equal jurisdiction.

(D) The ground that the Appellants did not seek for leave of the Appeal court before filing the Notice of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal said since parties have submitted to the jurisdiction of the court by entering appearance, it can no longer challenge the ground, so the court refused to admit the ground.

The Court resolved grounds A,B,C in favour of the Exited staff and the Cooperative while ground D’ was refused.

The case was finally dismissed with the cost of #200,000 granted in favour of the Exited staff and the Cooperative against the Appellants (Kendrick &Co).

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