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Court dismisses N6.5billion debt recovery suit against Ex-Director of Intercontinental bank

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A Federal high court, sitting in Lagos has dismissed a debt recovery suit of N,5.6 billion filed against former Director of Intercontinental bank Christopher Adebayo Alabi and five others.
The presiding Judge Akintayo Aluko, after reviewing the argument  canvased by Barrister ‘wale Adesokan SAN on behalf of the Ex-Banker dismissed the suit filed against   Mr. Christopher Adebayo Alabi  on the ground of gross  abuse of court process.
Joined as co-defendants in the dismissed suit are Stanzus Investment Ltd,Caronc Investment Ltd,Mr Stanley Ezenwa, Zephrenus Ezenwa and Chinwe Hilda Ezenwa Mbah
AMCON in the instant case,  is claiming the sum of N6,516,183,686.23 (Six billion, five hundred and sixteen million,one hundred and eighty three thousand naira,twenty three kobo only) as the outstanding loan obligation which the two companies Stanzus Investment Limited and Caronc  Investment Limited companies, and their directors,promoters and managing directors who are Mr Stanley Ezenwa,Zephrenus Ezenwa,Chinwe Hilda Ezenwa Mbah and Christopher Adebayo Alabi the 3rd-6th Defendants are owing AMCON.
The facts making up the case of the defendants  as contained in the affidavit and documentary evidence filed  before the Court by thier counsel Mr.Wale Adesokan SAN:
Their case is that in the year 2006, the Caronc Investment limited company  applied for and was granted loan facility by the Intercontinental bank sequel to an application dated 18/10/2006. The loan facility granted to the  company was subsequently cancelled by the bank and rebooked in the name and in favour of the Stanzus Investment Ltd company as stock trading term loan facility otherwise known as margin facility and all terms and conditions under the cancelled facility were to apply.
The purpose of the margin facility was for purchase of shares which were to be done by the bank and managed by a sister company to the bank with authority to sell the shares and apply the dividends and bonuses accruing therefrom as security for repayment of the facility without notice to the two companies in the event of default of payment or if the value of the shares drops by 15%.
Asset Management Corporation AMCON acquired from the bank the margin facility granted to the companies and all the interest and liabilities of the bank in respect of the said margin (shares purchase) facility are now vested in AMCON.
It is the case of the defendants that by the Interoffice memorandum of 2nd May, 2007, the bank admitted that the value of the shares purchased with the margin facility granted to the companies by the bank was more than adequate to pay down the margin facility granted to the companies.
The defendants believe that the board resolution and the letter of authority of the Caronc Investment company on 30/10/2006 authorizing the bank and/or AMCON to sell the purchased shares to recoup the margin facility in the event of default are fulfillment of the terms and condition of the margin (shares purchase) facility documents  and that the Company have ceased to be indebted to AMCON. The Court granted an application in favour of AMCON on the 5/9/2023 which has resulted to the freezing of business bank accounts of and led to untold hardship on the defendants
Mr Adesokan SAN, in his final submission urged the court to dismiss the suit with substantial cost.
However, AMCON denied the defendants’ depositions and insisted that the order of the Court was not obtained fraudulently but was obtained during the Annual vacation pursuant to an order of the Court made on the 5th day of September 2023.
AMCON insisted that the parties and subject matter in the suit no: FHC/L/CS/640/2023 are materially different from the parties and subject matter in the instant suit.
 The  Defendants contended that  the instant suit is an abuse of court process in that there is a similar suit over the same subject matter between the same parties already existing and pending before the Court.
In his ruling,the presiding Judge Akintayo Aluko said:
Based on the evidence before the Court which were not controverted, I believe the Defendants that the instant suit was filed by the  AMCON on 8/6/2023 after its knowledge of the pendency of the suit in FHC/L/CS/640/2023.
It is also established that the AMCON was in the know that Suit No: FHC/L/CS/640/2023 that was already pending against it as at the 5/9/2023 when the Claimant moved this Court to grant the interim orders made against the Defendants over the same subject matter already pending in FHC/L/CS/640/2023
It is therefore beyond any contention that the instant suit filed by AMCON nearly two months after the filing of this Suit in FHC/L/CS/640/2023 to its knowledge constitute gross abuse of Court process.
To this end, this Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the case of the Claimant(AMCON) as presently constituted.
For the sake of clarity, the order of this Court made on 5/9/2023 in the absence of jurisdiction following the incompetent suit filed by the AMCON is hereby nullified.

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