Court Bans German firm from doing business in Nigeria

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday restrained a German company, Andreas Stihl Ag and co. Kg, from doing business in Nigeria following fraud and copyright infringement allegations.

The order followed an ex parte application filed by the Federal Government after a complaint by a businessman, Chief Samson Ifediba, for which the company and 21 other accused are being prosecuted by the Attorney General of the Federation.

The other defendants are Hans Sthil, Eva Mayr, Bertram Kandziora, Karl Angler, Wolfgang Zahn, Nikolas Stihl, Kornemann David, Kannan Rajangam, Shafiu Yauri, Ogunbanjo Temitope, Sadiq Yusufu, Jude Chukwuebuka and Umeaku Felix Ikechukwu.

The rest are Anthony Onyia, George Raphael, Amala Umeike, C-Woermann Nigeria Limited, Ecolin Integrated Services Limited, Texmaco Ventures Nigeria Limited, Fegmatic Associates Limited and George Raphael Hardware Limited.

The case is being prosecuted by the Federal Government pursuant to Sections 104 and 379 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

The summary of the case against the defendants were deposed before Justice I.E. Ekwo by A.K. Akilu, Chief State counsel in the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation for the AGF and Minister of Justice.

It reads, “Hans Peter Sthil, Eva Mayr, Bertram Kandziora, Karl Dieter Angler, Wolfgang Zahn and Nikolas Stihl, all of Badstrasse 115, 71336 Walblingen, Baden-Wurttemburg, Germany, while working for Adreas Stihl Ag & Co. Kg, being a company incorporated in Germany, at various dates for several years and at different locations in Nigeria, including Abuja and Lagos, carried out business of selling chainsaws and other handheld power equipment including trimmers, blowers, grinders and high-pressure washers without prior incorporation in Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission.”

They were also accused of colluding with Shafiu Yauri, Ogunbanjo Temitope, Sadiq Yusufu, all of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and intentionally took the trademark registration of Certificate of Stihl belonging to Andreas Stihl Ag and CO. Ltd. without authority or right and for the purpose of interfering with the use by the company.

Delivering his ruling, Justice Ekwo said, “An order is hereby made issuing a criminal summons against the defendants in this case to compel their attendance in court for the purpose of arraignment and trial in respect of charge No.FHC/ABJ/CR/38/2020.

“An order of interlocutory injunction is hereby made restraining the defendants, and all traders, dealers…from the continuance of public display in any market in Nigeria, advertising for sale, the sale of Stihl Chain or its related products or accessories anywhere in Nigerian market which said acts constitute offences and formed the basis of charge No.FHC/ABJ/CR/38/2020 pending the conclusion of the trial.”

The judge adjourned the case till March 4.

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