IBRU BROTHERS BATTLE OVER FEDERAL PALACE HOTEL

IBRU BROTHERS BATTLE OVER FEDERAL PALACE HOTEL
MORE  facts emerged yesterday on the last days of the late Mr Alex
Uruemu Ibru, the frontline businessman and publisher of The Guardian,
who died on November 28, last year.
The widow, Mrs Maiden Ibru,
relived his last days in court where she has mounted a legal battle to
wind up a company owned by her husband and his brother, Mr Goodie Ibru.
The matter came up at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
As
Justice Okechukwu Okeke was about making his pronouncement on the
submissions by the lawyers, he noticed that Mrs Ibru raised her hand,
demanding to be allowed just two minutes to speak, a request the judge
granted. At that point, the court went silent.
Mrs Ibru, who was accompanied by one of her children, Toke, told the court why she filed the suit.
“Six
months before my husband died, the doctors told me that he was going to
die. And for five months, he was out of circulation and nobody saw him
and even his family members did not bother about him. 
“Two weeks
before he died, he embarked on a hunger strike and when the family
members heard about it, some of them came to see him, including Mr
Goodie Ibru. When Goodie came, he (the deceased) said he did not even
expect he could be talking. 
“Then my husband said he was going to
fight him to the finish, dead or alive. That even when he dies, he was
going to continue the fight, unless he (Goodie) resigned as the chairman
of the company (Tourist Company Nigeria Plc).”
“He said out of
all his brothers, the last person that he thought will betray him was
Goodie. They had altered some of the company’s documents, diverted money
and committed all sort of atrocities without the knowledge of my
husband. I am a widow and have children to take care of,” she said.
Mrs Ibru said while entering the court, she saw her husband who, she claimed, encouraged her to proceed with her actions.
She
alleged that her late husband was unhappy with Mr Goodie Ibru and had
demanded that he (Goodie) quit his position in one of the companies they
jointly owned.
Dressed in a black gown, Mrs Ibru spoke at the
hearing of a winding-up petition her lawyer, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite,
filed against Tourist Company of Nigeria Plc, jointly owned by her late
husband and his brothers.
Mrs Ibru, who sued on behalf of Omamo
Investments Corporation (a company owned by her late husband), is
seeking to wind up Tourist Company, believed to own the Federal Palace
Hotel, Lagos on ground of alleged indebtedness.
She stated in the
winding-up petition that Omamo Investments, between 2003 and 2009, lent
to the Tourist Company $7.1m, N610m, N381m and N19m, which the company
has allegedly been unable to repay.
Mrs Ibru, who claimed to have
made several demands on the respondent to no avail, prayed the court to
wind up the company for allegedly being insolvent.
She stated that
the respondent “has failed beyond resuscitation, has insufficient
assets to meet its liabilities, does not have the capacity to meet the
conditions for which it was incorporated and has suffered a total
erosion of its capital base”.
“The respondent is both cash flow
and balance sheet insolvent and has not been carrying on effectively,
the business of hotelling and catering.” 
She averred that the
whole substratum of the company is gone and it is impossible to carry on
the essential purpose for which it was formed.
Mrs Ibru urged the
court to wind up the Tourist Company under the provisions of the
Companies and Allied Matters Act, CAP C20 LFN 2004 and appoint a
provisional liquidator in the person of the President of the Chartered
Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) or his nominee.
But the respondent
has denied Mrs. Ibru’s claim and asked the court to dismiss the suit on
the ground of incompetence, adding that it discloses no reasonable cause
of action and constitutes a gross abuse of the court process.
In a
preliminary objection filed by  its lawyer, Onyebuchi Aniakor , the
Tourist Company argued that  no grounds, as provided for by law, had
been disclosed by the petitioner to justify the commencement of a
winding-up proceeding against it.
It said the petitioner had not
shown that the alleged indebtedness, the subject matter of the petition,
was due for payment or payable by the respondent.
The respondent
contended that as against the petitioner’s claim, no demand for payment
on the alleged indebtedness had been made on it.
At yesterday’s
proceedings, the presiding judge informed parties about a letter written
to the court by Chief Edwin Clark and J.P Clark, two Delta State elder
statesmen, praying the court to adjourn the case indefinitely for
parties to explore amicable settlement options.
Part of the
letter, read out by one of the court’s officials, reads: “As members of
the family, the two parties are our relations. We will like the court to
give us the opportunity to intervene and settle the matter amicably.”
Braithwaite
urged the court to ignore the letter, arguing that the writers had
nothing to do with the case and were not party to the petition.
Besides, he has written to the Chief Judge for the case to be transferred to another judge.
Aniakor,
who agreed with Braithwaite that the writers of the letter were
busybodies in the petition, said they were well-intentioned busybodies.
He
said it was the duty of the court to promote amicable settlement of any
dispute before it and that the recent development has provided the
platform for such settlement in this case. 
Aniakor, however, left the final decision on the issue to the court.
Justice
Okechukwu Okeke, after studying the court processes filed by the
parties, noted that the case involved two brothers, an observation
Braithwaite objected to, stressing that it was a commercial dispute
between two companies.
 The court, at that point sought the
opinion of a senior lawyer in court – Kola Awodein (SAN) – who told the
court it has the

discretion to handle the case the way it pleases, but
consider the interest of all the parties – in accordance to the rules
and regulations of the courts.

He
observed that there may not be an end to such interventions, should the
letter be allowed. Awodein noted, however, that the court has the duty
to encourage amicable settlement, which the letter has provided the
right platform for in the case.
Awodein said the court has the
powers to consider the letter on its merits and decide to grant an
adjournment so that the matter could be settled out of court, in view of
the provision of Section 17 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure
Rules.
Justice Okeke later adjourned the case for a week for
parties to explore the opportunity to settle the dispute out of court,
in view of the provision of Section 17 of the court rules.
The
judge consequently withdrew from handling the case and announced his
intention to return the case file to the Chief Judge for reassignment to
another judge. His decision, he said was informed by the conducts of
parties, particularly the petitioner’s letter to the Chief Judge
demanding a reassignment.
–  Eric Ikhilae

One Response to "IBRU BROTHERS BATTLE OVER FEDERAL PALACE HOTEL"

  1. obola   March 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    It's amazing what the percieved haves debate upon when the ahve nots just want to go on with their lives…

    This family need to mourn their late and find an amicable way to spread some love….

    Reply

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