Alleged $10m Debt: Shoprite battles assets in court

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South African retail company, Shoprite Checkers (PTY) Limited has filed an application seeking to discharge the Mareva injunction restraining it from transferring its assets.

The Mareva injunction was made by Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Lagos in favour of a Nigerian firm, A.I.C. Limited, which in 2018 secured a $10m judgment against Shoprite in a breach of contract lawsuit.

A.I.C. Limited obtained the Mareva injunction against the backdrop of Shoprite’s announcement to pull out of Nigeria.

On July 14, 2020, Mareva injunction, Justice Liman restrained Shoprite “from transferring, assigning, charging, disposing of its trademark, franchise and intellectual property in a manner that will alter, dissipate or remove these non-cash assets and other assets, including but not limited to trade receivables, trade payables, payment for the purchase of merchandise, from within the jurisdiction of this honourable court.”

The judge also mandated the second respondent, Retail Supermarket Nigeria Limited, “to disclose its audited financial statements for the years ending 2018 and 2019 to enable the judgment creditor/applicant determine the judgment debtor’s/respondent’s funds in its custody in order to preserve same in satisfaction of the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Appeal No: CA/L/288/2018.”

But on Tuesday, Shoprite’s lawyer, Mrs Funke Adekoya (SAN), approached the vacation judge at the Federal High Court in Lagos, Justice Nicholas Oweibo, with an application seeking to set aside the Mareva injunction.

However, the judge said he needed to be convinced that the matter was urgent enough to warrant being heard during the court vacation.

He directed Shoprite’s lawyer to file an application to that effect and adjourned till September 7 for hearing.

The $10m judgment was in 2018 entered in favour of A.I.C. Limited against Shoprite by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja.

Displeased with the judgment, Shoprite had gone on appeal but it equally lost at the Court of Appeal and has now gone to the Supreme Court.

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