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Sunday, 29 December 2019

Court Freezes Oil Firm‘s Accounts Over Alleged Unpaid N967m Debt

Court Freezes Oil Firm‘s Accounts Over Alleged Unpaid N967m Debt

Justice Chuka Austine Obiozor of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has ordered all banks in Nigeria, not to allow an oil firm, Rainfall Oil Supplies and Trading Nigeria Limited and its directors to access its accounts with them, over alleged unpaid debt of N967, 244, 957, 45 million.

The Oil firm’s directors affected by the order are: Jamilu Abubakar; Jara Abubakar; Shehu Lawal Kaita and Abdulkadir Gwandu.

The court made the order while granting an exparte application marked FHC/L/CS/1953/2019, filed and argued by Olaitan Adeboye, lawyer to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

Justice Obiozor also made an order of mandatory injunction, directing all the banks to produce and furnish the court the statement of accounts of the oil firm and its directors, stating the total outstanding credit in their accounts. And to produce and furnish the court the opening documentation which includes; mandate card, Know Your Customer Card and other relevant documents of the defendants at the commencement of the financial transaction.

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Furthermore, the judge also made an order mandating the banks to take measures restraining the fifth defendant, Abdulkadir Gwandu, his agents, servants or proxies from relating to bank verification number 22155238420.

Justice Obiozor stated that the orders will be subsisting pending the hearing and determination of debt recovery suit brought against the oil firm and its directors by AMCON.

Some of the banks affected listed in the application are: First City Monument Bank Plc (FCMB), First Bank of Nigeria PLC, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTB), Union Bank of Nigeria Plc United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Zenith Bank Plc, Citibank Nigeria Limited, Ecobank Nigeria Plc, Heritage Banking Company Limited, Keystone Bank Limited, Polaris Bank Limited (successor to Skye Bank Plc) Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc and 15 other banks

AMCON in an affidavit deposed to by its Credit Officer, David Funsho George, averred that in pursuit of the indebtedness of the oil firm, which was bought over, the AMCON wrote two different letters of Demand dated February 18, 2016, and November 23, 2016, respectively, to the oil firm none of which was favourably responded to. And that the inability of the AMCON to make recovery despite the above lead to the engagement of the consortium of Olaitan Adeboye and Co as Asset Management Partners.

The deponent stated that the consortium of Olaitan Adeboye & Co and in its efforts at recovery the debt, wrote a Letter of Demand dated the 24th January, 2018 to the Oil Company for payment of a sum of N429 938, 999.70 million, but could not deliver same because the alleged debtor and its Directors were said to have relocated to an unknown place and changed their phone contacts.

He stated further that the inability of the AMCON to recover the unliquidated indebtedness of the 1st Defendant/ respondent through the various efforts made had prompted it to approach the court for the recovery of the said indebtedness that stood at a sum of N967. 244, 957. 45 million, as at April 30, 2019, as stated in the Statement of Account generated on the 22nd May, 2019.

He also averred that despite the above development, the oil firm and its directors till date had utterly failed, refused and neglected to make payment of the outstanding sum demanded and had not indicated willingness to do same. And that the totality of the effect was that the Defendants never denied their indebtedness of the amount claimed by the AMCON despite their purposes contained in the said letter.

The deponent added that upon the development in the preceding above, the oil firm refused and neglected to liquidate both the principal and interest of the facilities it obtained from the original tender at the maturity date thereof and this prompted the defunct Spring Bank to wrote a Demand Letter dated August 24, 2009, to the firm as a follow up to the previous ones.

The deponent averred further that rather than meeting upon the demand of the defunct Spring Bank as stated, the oil firm requested that the loan facility be restructured and the request was granted for a sum of N208,645.929.31 Million, for a tenor of 18 months which offer was communicated to the 1st Defendant/ Respondent through a letter dated April 27, 2009, who equally accepted same through a letter of acceptance and Board Resolution dated May 18, 2009.

He stated that as an indication of the advancement of the various facilities applied for by the Oil Firm, from the successor-in-title to the defunct Spring Bank (now Heritage Bank Plc), is a first drawdown sum of N208, 645, 929, 31 million, on April 30, 2009 which upon series of restructuring culminated into a sum of N177, 131, 406.62 million, as at December 30, 2009.

The deponent also stated that despite the foregoing, the Oil Firm continued to refuse and neglect to liquidate its indebtedness to the successor-in-title to the defunct Spring bank Plc and this prompted the sale of the unliquidated indebtedness to AMCON by the bank through a Loan Purchase Agreement effective from December 31, 2010, which development was related to the first defendant through a Notice of Assignment.

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The deponent stated that the second, third, fourth and fifth defendants held themselves out and gave representation of same as Directors of the Oil firm through a Minute of Meeting and a Board Resolution to Accept Facility from Spring Bank dated March 22 and 25 2008, the basis upon which loan credit was advanced to the oil firm by the defunct Spring Bank Plc.

He also stated that the Oil Firm by an undated letter addressed to the defunct Spring Bank Plc and received by the letter on the April 9, 2008 applied to the bank for a credit facility sum of N200 million to finance the procurement of white products (A.G.O. DPK, PMS. etc) to be sold under a warehousing arrangement between the parties for a tenet of 90 days, adding that through a
letter dated March 19, 2008, the defunct Spring Bank Plc, granted the credit facility sum of N200 million to the Oil firm.

After grating the exparte application adjourned till January 28, 2020, for hearing of the substantive suit.

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