Shoprite barred from transferring assets over $10m judgment debt


Shoprite Checkers (PTY) Limited has been given an order of mareva injunction by a Federal High Court in Lagos, barring it from disposing of or transferring its assets out of jurisdiction over a $10m judgment debt.

A Nigerian firm A.I.C. Limited secured the mareva injunction from Justice Mohammed Liman. The company had in 2018 secured a $10million judgement against Shoprite in a breach of contract lawsuit.

Shoprite recently announced plan to exit Nigeria.

Court papers say the $10million judgement was entered in favour of A.I.C. Limited against Shoprite by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja.

Shoprite appealed the judgement but lost at the Court of Appeal and has gone to the Supreme Court.

A copy of the July 14, 2020 mareva injunction seen by PUNCH said Justice Liman restrained “the judgment debtor/1st respondent,” and its privies “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 purchase of merchandise, from within the jurisdiction of this honourable court.”

The judge also mandated the 2nd 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.”

A.I.C. Limited had in 2012 sued Shoprite Checkers (PTY) Limited and Retail Supermarket Nigeria Limited for breaching contract agreements after it invited the South African retail supermarket operators to Nigeria in the hope of a joint venture only to be sidelined when the company opened shop in 2005.

The courts agreed that the series of exchanged correspondences between the parties confirmed that A.I.C Limited and Shoprite agreed to a joint venture.

“There is evidence in the record that the 1st appellant allowed the respondent to search for a suitable site for the partnership project and to apply for a lease of land for the partnership project. These involved time, energy and money. The court below held that the conduct of the parties demonstrated intention to enter into a legal relation in respect of the partnership project. I agree,” the Court of Appeal had ruled.