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N58.9billion Loan Dispute: Judge Advise Parties To Reconcile

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Justice Mohammed Liman, of a Federal High Court in Lagos has advised the lawyers to parties in N58.9billion loan dispute between Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria Limited (POON), its affiliate companies and Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to work through the process of settlement and take interest of parties into consideration.

Justice Liman gave this advise when the parties appears before him and reported that they have not been able to agree on terms of settling out of court.

The judge who noted that the actions of the receiver may affect the fiscal policy of the country stated that It is not for the court to set criteria for parties, on how to resolve the disputes.

Justice Liman therefore adjourned to October 13, for the report of settlement.

The judge however noted that if parties did not settle during vacation, they were at liberty to approach the vacation judge to argue any issue that they considered urgent or important.

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During the proceedings, Lead counsel for the firms, OAR Ogunde (SAN) and his AMCON counterpart, Kunle Ogunba (SAN) told the court of the development at the last hearing.

Mr Ogunde, SAN told the court that he has not gotten any feedback that the matter has been settled and therefore intend to proceed with his motion, adding that the claimant/respondent had not shown any concrete step towards settlement.

He informed the court that the order obtained by AMCON was executed against third parties, who had been sent out of the sealed properties.

“If the claimant can be restricted, then this will encourage us to wait for settlement because they are expensive buildings and can attract thieves if left unoccupied,” he submitted.

Mr Ogunde SAN also stated that the liability of third parties would affect his clients and request for an undertaking that would allow them to regain possession of their respective properties.

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In his response, Mr Ogunba, SAN said that the interest of his client should not be jeopardised in the process.

“The decision with respect to the proposal on a settlement cannot be taken in a day. It needs time. If third parties are aggrieved, they know what to do.

“The defendant has a legion of companies, which they operate. We have put a system in place to attend to affected third parties.

“One of them is Saipem Contracting Nig Ltd, who wants to leave and we have instructed them to write to us,” Ogunba, said.

After listening to both counsel, Justice Liman stated that it was improper to drive tenants out and then begin to listen to them.

“It is a bullet approach which is wrong. Once possession is taken, you serve tenants notice and not to drive them out,” he said, adding that there was no justification for AMCON’s action.

He held that the tenants should be allowed to enjoy their tenancies with the option to retain or renew a tenancy, maintaining that third parties should not be prejudicially affected.

Counsel for one of the tenants, Saipem, Mr Olugbenga Onalaja informed the court that he had written to Ogunba (SAN), seeking to be allowed to go into the property to take out its assets since its tenancy had expired.

The court, therefore, struck out the notice of claim filed by Saipem, saying that it had been overtaken by events.

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The judge also discharged all the banks that filed an affidavit indicating that the firms had no account with them.

However, Ogunde SAN, informed the court that its ex-parte order was harming the defendants.

“Our application is ripe for hearing. All the accounts of defendants have been frozen, even accounts of POON, Beam and Trensix on which the orders of court executed in this suit did not cover.

He further stated that his client’s operations of crude oil was been hampered. That up till that day, the defendants had no access to one dollar as all monies went into an account controlled by AMCON and the banks.

“If things are not managed well, oil and gas production will cease. We have been paying despite being in court. How can we continue to pay when the account has been frozen?

“These issues are mitigating against the settlement. There was no point freezing the accounts. People who should be paid are not paid as a result”, he declared.

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Top Court News is a product of a dedicated Journalist, owner of I-Wahab Media The Publisher started his Journalism career with Murhi International TV, MiTV in 2003 before working with Radio Nigeria, Lagos Operation, as a Judicial Correspondent. He is presently the Chairman of the National Association of Judicial Correspondent, NAJUC, Ikeja Branch and he is the Vice Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, Radio Nigeria Chapel. topcourtnewsng.com is out to serve you with informative and educative News in the Judiciary sector. To put an end to the under reported activities of the sector among the three arms of government

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Court Orders Sanwo-Olu, First Bank, NNPC, AMCON To Stop Construction At Lekki

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Justice Olukayode Ogunjobi of a Lagos State High Court in TBS has ordered all parties in respect of disputed land at Lagoon View Development Scheme (Oju Olokun), Chevron Drive in Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State to maintain the status quo antebellum pending determination of the suit.

The judge ordered that all construction on the disputed land measuring about 101.673 Hectares should be stopped and the defence parties should appear before it and shows why it should not grant all reliefs sought by the claimants.

Justice Ogunjobi ordered was sequel to an application of ex-parte dated February 22, 2022, filed before the court on behalf of the claimant against Lagos State Government, First Bank, NNPC, AMCON and others.

The claimants are Alhaji Shehu Adio Kassim Lumosa and others

While the respondents are the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Attorney General and Commissioner For Justice, State Land Bureau, Lagos State Development & Property Corporation Limited, LSDPC.

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Others were First Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited, NNPC, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, and Suntrust Savings and Loans Limited.

Appearing before the court on the memorandum of claims against the respondents in respect of the property forming part of the Estate of Madam Iyalode Efunloye Tinubu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr Dada Awosika urged the court to grant the ex-parte application in the interest of justice.

Dr Awosika informed the court that his application is supported by 51 paragraph affidavit, exhibits and written address to show cause why the applications should be granted.

The parties were not present in court and didn’t have legal representation despite being served.

In his ruling, Justice Ogunjobi stated that having considered the depositions in affidavit support where the claimants averred that the eleven respondents/defendants have concluded arrangements to unjustly and illegally take possession of the disputed land, the court would grant the ex-parte.

It would be recalled that the disputed land formed part of the land which Adam Akinfolabi Akindele of Adamakin Investment and Works Limited was entrusted as the Attorney of the Estate of Madam Iyalode Efunroye Tinubu.

 

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Wema Bank Debunks Money Laundering Allegations As Court Strikes Out Case

Magistrate A.O. Layinka discharged the defendants and struck out the charge following the Legal Advice from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Lagos State that no prima facie case has been established against them.

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The management of Wema Bank Plc has described media reports on money laundering and bribery allegations against its member of staff and a certain bank customer as malicious and misleading.

This is coming just as an online media platforms Sahara Reporters and some bloggers are twisting a concluded court case to malign the bank.

The said case of money laundering and bribery allegations’ charges preferred against the Managing Director of Shibahwells Energy, Isaac Adewole, and a Wema Bank staff, Kingsley Ananwude has been struck out by an Ogba Magistrate Court, Lagos, for lack of merit.

Debunking the allegations in a statement signed by its Head of Corporate Communications, Funmilayo Falola, Wema Bank noted that its attention has been drawn to the media reports on money laundering and bribery allegations on certain customer’s transaction.

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It lamented that the publication went ahead to mention the names of certain Wema Bank management staff to be allegedly involved in the said transaction.

The statement stated that: “The Bank wishes to state categorically that there is no merit in the article, and it is a malicious publication against members of our staff and the Bank’s customer.”

The Bank, according to the statement, also claimed that the allegations were being peddled by an aggrieved 3rd party, Timi Popoola.

It added that Mr. Popoola had voluntarily released his property as part of a collateral to secure a loan obtained by the Bank’s Customer.

Specifically, on Tuesday March 15, 2022, the case no. MIK/B/6/2022–Commissioner of Police vs. Adewole Isaac & Kingsley Ananwude, for alleged stealing and money laundering involving N1.7billion was struck out.

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Magistrate A.O. Layinka discharged the defendants and struck out the charge following the Legal Advice from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Lagos State that no prima facie case has been established against them.

It will be recalled that the defendants were arraigned in Court on February 9, 2022, in Charge No. MIK/B/6/2022–Commissioner of Police vs. Adewole Isaac & Kingsley Ananwude, for alleged stealing and money laundering involving N1.7billion.

After pleading not guilty, the Court granted the defendants bail and then adjourned the case till 15th March, 2022, for trial.

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On Tuesday 15th March, 2022, when the case was mentioned in Court, Magistrate Layinka discharged the defendants and struck out the charge for lack of Merit after relying on the Legal Advice from the Office of the DPP, Office of the Attorney General of Lagos State/Ministry of Justice.

In the Legal Advice signed by the DPP of Lagos State (a copy of which was sighted by our correspondent), the DPP after an extensive review of the duplicate case file provided by the police authority, stated that the defendants were arrested based on rumours by one Timi Popoola and nothing more!

The DPP further stated that there is insufficient evidence to predicate the offences upon which a criminal charge was brought before the Court.

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Folawiyo Seeks Injunction Against Amcon’s Ex Parte Order

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A Lagos-based businessman, Mr Tunde Folawiyo, has filed an exparte motion before a Federal High Court in Lagos seeking an order of stay of execution of an ex-parte orders made against him in satisfaction of a judgement debt.

Justice Lewis Allagoa had made orders against Mr. Folawiyo in a suit filed by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) over Folawiyo’s alleged unpaid debt of N727.9 million in relation to a company directorship at Compagnie Generale de Logistique.

Folawiyo, in a suit no: FHC/L/CS/799/2020, is seeking an order of stay of execution of the ex-parte orders made against him on March 24, 2022 pending the hearing and determination of his Motion on Notice seeking to set aside the ex parte orders.

He is praying for the following relief: An order restraining the AMCON either by itself, agents, privies, servants or through any person(s) from taking any steps howsoever to enforce the ex-parte orders made against the applicant by the Court on 24th March 2022 pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s Motion on Notice seeking to set aside the ex parte orders.

The ex-parte orders were predicated on the judgment of Justice Ibrahim Buba in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/207/2017; Asset Management Company of Nigeria (“AMCON”) v Compagnie Generale De Logistique & Others in 2017 (“Previous Suit”) in favour of AMCON in the sum of N522,464,978.66 against the defendants in the suit.

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The applicant said he was not a party to the previous suit and was not served with the judgment on it.

AMCON claimed the applicant is a director in Compagnie Generale De Logistique, which took loan from Spring Bank and which judgment was principally obtained in the previous suit.

Contrary to the representations made by the Plaintiff, the applicant said he was not a Director of Compagnie Generale De Logistique at the time of the previous suit and was not in any way connected to the loan transaction with Spring Bank.

The applicant said he is, therefore, not a “debtor” within the contemplation of Section of 61 of the AMCON Act as to warrant the interim forfeiture of his assets and freezing of his bank accounts on account of the judgment obtained in the 2017 Suit.

He argued that a combined reading of Sections 49(2),50(2) and 61 of the AMCON Act would reveal that only current directors of a company fall within the definition of “debtor” as to warrant the freezing of their assets or accounts.

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Mr Folawiyo told the court that AMCON failed to disclose or suppressed material facts about the status of the Applicant in Compagnie Generale De Logistique, the principal judgment debtor in the previous suit.

He added: “The exparte orders were obtained malafide against the applicant and constitute an abuse of court process.

“The applicant has a filed a Motion on Notice praying for the setting aside of the said ex- parte orders.

“The applicant’s pending set aside motion raises serious issues on why the Ex-parte orders ought not to have been granted.

“It is in the interest of justice to grant this application pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s Motion to Set Aside the Ex-parte Orders.”

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Mr Folawiyo argued that the originating summons filed by AMCON is incompetent as it had expired at the time of the grant of the ex-parte order.

He expressed concern about the impact the orders would have on his employees as well as the reputation of the three-generational family business he has worked hard to maintain and grow over the years.

Tunde Folawiyo is the son and heir to the late Nigerian Businessman and philanthropist, Wahab Iyanda Folawiyo. Alhaji Wahab whose father, Tijani was a wealthy local Merchant in the Colonial era, was known for funding , building orphanage homes and funding several local sports championships. In expanding his late father’s legacy, Mr Tunde Folawiyo attended the London School of Economics to broaden his business perspective and investment choices in addition to being a Barrister of the Court of England and Wales as well as Nigeria. In 2016, Folawiyo and his firm announced its first production of crude oil from the Aje Field, the first producing field outside of the Niger Delta area in Nigeria.

Reports say the multi-million dollar investment was aimed at reducing oil production pressure from the Niger Delta region. He is currently the Chairman of Yinka Folawiyo Group, established by his father in 1957.

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