Court freezes firms accounts over N4.2bn debt to AMCON

A Federal High Court, Lagos, today, ordered interim freezing of bank accounts of a limited liability company, Al Kahf Limited, over alleged indebtedness of N4. 282, 918, 018,43 billion to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

The court also ordered the company, its servants, agents, officers, directors, shareholders, employees, creditors, assigns, donees, tenants, privies and any other persons to deliver to AMCON the company’s property situated at Plot 1145B, Victoria Island layout, now known as 1, Mike Inegbese close, Amodu Ojikutu, Victoria Island, Lagos, with Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) dated July 16, 1987 and registered as 43/43/1987c, at the Lands Registry of Lagos State.

The court also made an order directing  company’s bankers to file affidavits of disclosure before the court disclosing funds standing in company’s accounts.

Justice (Prof) Chuka Austine Obiozor, who presided over the court gave the order while delivering bench ruling in an ex-parte application filed and argued by Barrister Ubah Anayo, lawyer to the AMCON against the company.

Joined as respondent in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/703/2019, is Alhaji Badamasi Shehu, the company’s managing director/ Chief Executive Officer.

AMCON in an affidavit attached with the motion exparte deposed to by one of its accounting officers, David George, stated that the company had sometimes in October 2006, approached Oceanic Bank for a loan facility of N500 million for financing the purchase of petroleum products which were Automated Gas Oil (AGO), Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) and Premium Petrol Spirit (PMS) from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

George averred that the requested loan facility was granted by the bank subjected to certain terms and conditions which the company duly accepted. And that prior to accepting the said terms and conditions the company’s CEO, Alhaji Badamasi issued a personal guarantee to the bank.

He added that the loan facility was secured by a legal mortgage over the property situated at Plot 1145B Victoria Island layout, Lagos State,

The deponent further stated that the tenor for the said loan facility expired without same being liquidated by the defendants. Adding that the failure, refusal or inability of the defendants to to liquidate the loan as par the terms of offer letter dated December 19, 2016, led to activation of other interests and penalty charges to the account of the defendants with the bank.

The deponent also stated that the bank’s interest and rights in respect of unliquidated loan facility was acquired by AMCON which made it to became entitled to the benefits of said unpaid or unliquidated facility. He added that upon further refusal or failure of the defendants to liquidate their outstanding indebtedness despite the numerous calls, AMCON was constrained to appoint the Law firm of Jackson, Etti and Edu as its partner to recover the defendants’ outstanding indebtedness standing at N4. 282,918,018.43 billion.

The deponent stated further that the interest and penalty charges have continued to accrue on the defendants’ debt as at March 31, 2019, with the said sum remain due and unpaid by the defendants despite several and repeated demands by AMCON.

Upon presenting the facts relating to the said loan facility before the court,  the AMCON’s lawyer, Mr. Mbah, urged the court to grant the reliefs sought as the defendants have willingly and voluntarily entered into the loan agreement with the bank and willingly and voluntarily pledged the asset/property now sought to be attached as security/collateral for the loan facility

Mbah also told the court that AMCON has giving undertaken as to damages in the unlikely event that it is discovered that the court ought not to have exercised its discretion in its favour.

Delivering bench ruling on the experts motion, Justice Obiozor granted all the reliefs sought by AMCON except an order of injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, privies, from diverting, converting, misapplying, dissipating, misappropriating, stripping, tampering with, selling and disposing the said property situated at Plot 1145B Victoria Island layout, now known a 1Mike Inegbese Close, off Amodu Ojikutu, Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Justice Obiozor also held that the order granted subsisting till the determination of the substantive suit. 

The matter has been adjourned till June 27, for hearing of main substantive suit.

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