Pharma-Deko seeks winding-up order against Guinness over N175m debt

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Ramon Oladimeji

A pharmaceutical company, Pharma-Deko Plc, has approached the Federal High Court in Lagos seeking the winding up of Guinness Nigeria Plc over an alleged debt of N175,669,317.99.

The claimant, in its suit marked, FHC/L/CP/69/2017, filed before Justice Hadizat Rabiu-Shagari, is praying the court to appoint an official receiver, who will act as a provisional liquidator of Guinness Nigeria Plc.

Its lawyer, Mrs. Williams Akinjide (SAN), said the winding-up petition filed by her client against Guinness was pursuant to the Provision of the Companies and Allied Matters Act Cap. C20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

But Guinness, through its lawyer, Mr. Babatunde Fagbohunlu (SAN), had filed a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to entertain the case.

On Thursday, Justice Rabiu-Shagari adjourned till March 28, 2017 to hear the objection by Guinness.

In the affidavit it filed in support of its winding-up petition against Guinness, Pharma-Deko claimed that the alleged debt of N175.6m stemmed from alleged breach of contract on the part of Guinness.

The Production Manager of Pharma-Deko, Olukayode Ishola, who deposed to the affidavit, said the parties had earlier gone through an arbitration proceeding where the N175.6m was awarded on July 1, 2016.

Ishola claimed that Guinness participated fully in the proceedings, adding that Guinness was contractually indebted to it in the sum of N175, 699, 317.99.

The deponent stated further that all efforts since July 1, 2016, to get the contractual debt paid had been ignored/refused by the Guinness Nigeria Plc, despite writing and forwarding several demand notices in pursuant to statutory laws.
But Guinness, in response urged the court to strike out Pharma-Deko’s suit for want of jurisdiction.

Among others, Guinness argued that a winding-up proceedings was not the proper mode of enforcing an arbitral award as set out in the law regulating arbitration proceedings in Nigeria.

Besides, it contended that the award, which Pharma-Deko sought to enforce was statute barred and unenforceable in law.

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