The National Industrial Court has imposed a fine on an aviation services firm for not using its registered name with the Corporate Affairs Commission on its letterhead paper.

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The court, in a ruling by Justice Nelson Ogbuanya, remarked that the aviation services company registered as ‘Odengene Air Shuttle Services Limited’ with the CAC but its letterhead paper and signboard carried ‘OAS Helicopters Lease & Charter Services’.

Justice Ogbuanya said the failure of the aviation services firm to use its registered name was a breach of provisions of the Company and Allied Matters Act.

“The defendant is hereby ordered to comply with the provisions of Section 548(1)(c) of CAMA, with respect to publication of its corporate name as stipulated therein.

“The defendant is hereby further directed to file at the court’s registry evidence of compliance with this order.

“Cost of N100,000 is hereby awarded against the defendant in favour of the claimant’s counsel,” Justice Ogbuanya held.

The judge gave the ruling in favour of a former Director of Maintenance with the aviation services firm, Benjamin Okafor, who sued to challenge the termination of his employment.

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The firm had, through its lawyer, E.C. Obasi, filed a preliminary objection, challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear Okafor’s suit.

Among others, Obasi contended that Okafor sued the wrong firm, as his client’s registered name with the CAC was ‘Odengene Air Shuttle Services Limited’ and not ‘OAS Helicopters Lease & Charter Services’, which was named as the defendant in the suit.

Obasi vehemently opposed a Motion on Notice filed by Okafor’s lawyer, E.N. Effiom, to amend the court papers to replace ‘OAS Helicopters Lease & Charter Services’ with ‘Odengene Air Shuttle Services Limited’ as the defendant.

The firm’s lawyer contended that the claimant’s lawyer could not substitute a non-juristic party with a juristic party, insisting that the suit should be dismissed for being incompetent.

But Okafor, through his lawyer, contended that it was the aviation firm that misled him, because all the firm’s correspondences with him, including his letters of appointment and employment termination, were on a letterhead paper bearing  ‘OAS Helicopters Lease & Charter Services’.

In his ruling, Justice Ogbuanya granted Okafor’s application to amend the court papers by replacing ‘OAS Helicopters Lease & Charter Services’ with ‘Odengene Air Shuttle Services Limited’ as the defendant.

The judge held, “I find that the instant case is a clear case of giving the right person the wrong name, which is a legal entity imbued with juristic personality.

“In such a circumstance, I hold a stout view that a corporate entity sued in wrong name can be corrected.”