Justice Ayokunle Faji a Federal High Court judge sitting in Lagos has ordered the winding up of Anyiam Osigwe Group Limited over its inability to pay a debt of N750m owed to First Bank of Nigeria Plc since November 2006.
The judge granted the order in its judgment delivered in suit number FHC/L/CP/925/14 between FBN as petitioner and Anyiam Osigwe Group as respondent.
Dr. Kemi Pinheiro SAN appeared for FBN while E. I. Maduabuchi was the respondent.
The bank’s prayer, submitted by Dr. Pinheiro, was that Anyiam Osigwe Group be wound up pursuant to the Company’s and Allied Matters Act
During proceedings, the court analysed the facts of the case and the arguments in respect of the same.
Justice Faji addressed the sole issue for determination in the Petitioner’s final written address dated February 16, 2022.
The judge agreed with Pinheiro that the respondent failed to furnish any satisfactory evidence to show that the unliquidated debt is disputed, as argued by the respondent.
Justice Faji dismissed the contention of the respondent’s counsel who argued that the debt was the subject of another suit marked LD/1798/09.
The judge noted that there was nothing in the said suit, which has been struck out and remained unlisted, that could amount to a dispute over the debt owed.
Similarly, the court discountenanced the respondent’s contention that it is solvent and able to pay its debt.
It held that the petitioner had proved and satisfied the court that the respondent Anyiam Osigwe Group Limited was unable to pay its debt pursuant to Section 408(d) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2004 (being the law at the time of the transaction which led to the dispute).
Justice Faji held: “In the instant case, the respondent (Anyiam Osigwe Group) has not said that it has paid the entire sum due. It has not even shown that it has paid the principal sum of N750,000,000. It has only alleged paying N230,000,000.
“Even though a court should not hastily grant a winding up order, where there are strong grounds for doing so, particularly where the dispute as to the debt is not on substantial grounds, the Court will grant a winding up order.
“This Petition has immense merit and ought to and is hereby granted in its entirety.”