In a bid to recover a debt of N513,534,765.76, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria AMCON has dragged the former commissioner for sports in Delta state and one time president of Athletics Federation of Nigeria Solomon Ogba and his company Cleopas Communication limited before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, south west Nigeria.
In an affidavit sworn to by one Benjamin Akahi, and filed before the court by an Abuja based lawyer Oluwatosin Ajayi, it was alleged that at various times between 2006 and 2007 Cleopas Communication company applied for various margin facilities and Enhancements, from Oceanic bank International for the purposes of promoting their business objectives and acquiring shares, in certain companies in Nigeria.
The aggregate of all the sums of money advance by the bank to the defendants amounts to the sum of N380million.
Upon the expiration of the tenor period advance to the company the defendants ignored, refused and neglected to pay or liquidate its debt to the bank.
Eventually the bank’s interest and right in respect of the said loan facilities were acquired by AMCON, who later became entitled to the benefits, rights and interest of the unpaid loan.
As at the time of acquisition of the debt by AMCON from Oceanic bank in January 2011 the sum due and outstanding for payment was the sum of N298,505,439.42, and since then the aforementioned sum has continued to accumulate interest at the rate of 15%per annum.
In view of the recalcitrant posture of the defendants, towards liquidating the indebtedness to the plaintiff, AMCON briefed and instructed the law firm of Gerald Green and associate, to recover the debt due to AMCON from the defendants.
Pursuant to the instructions the said law firm wrote two letters to the defendants urging them to take steps in liquidating their indebtedness, notwithstanding the said letters the defendants have failed and refused to liquidate their indebtedness.
Meanwhile, the court has made the following orders against the defendants:
An order granting interim possession and compelling the respondents to deliver possession of all their shares held in various blue chip companies.
The court has also granted an order freezing the company’s account in several banks pending the final determination of this case.
AMCON by this legal action is claiming against the defendants as follows:
The sum of N513,534 765.76 representing the principal sum plus all the accrued interest at the rate of 15% per annum drawn up to the 15th day of November, 2018.
The sum of N4million as cost of filling and prosecuting this claim.
However in a statement of defence and counter claim accompanied with defendants witness on oath sworn to by Chief Solomon Ogba and filed before the court by a lawyer, Barrister Victor Obaro, the defendants while denying almost all the claims of AMCON, stated that at no point in time did they approach the defunct Oceanic bank International Plc for credit facilities nor was there any credit facility granted Cleofas company as alleged by AMCON.
The defendants alleged further that the purported letter dated 29th of March 2007 purportedly applying to the bank for a margin facility of 320 million did not emanate from Cleofas Company, rather, Cleofas company opened a margin account with Oceanic Capital Assets Management Ltd on the 3rd of May, 2006 with the sum of N30million for the purchase and sale of shares to be managed by Oceanic Capital, being an assets management Company.
Between the period of May 2006 when Cleofas marging account was opened several shares were purchased and sold for the company by Oceanic Capital running into millions of Naira.
On the 7th of May, 2007 proffesional advice of Oceanic Capital, Cleofas company obtained a margin loan of N50million from Oceanic Capital Assets management to acquire shares of International Energy Insurance Plc and GTBank Plc.
Thereafter Oceanic Capital who managed the Cleofas company continue to unilaterally invest funds in the cleofas margin account to buy and sell shares based on their professional skills and knowledge of the stock market and to recover the N50nillion loan facility from the sale of the shares.
Oceanic Capital was alleged to have purchased some shares for Cleofas company and fraudulently converted and appropriated the shares itself, Cleofas company on becoming aware of the unprofessional conduct protested the conversion of its share by the Oceanic Capital and its management staff.
It was further stated that Cleofas company by its letter. dated 16th January, 2020 instructed Oceanic capital to liquidate facility from the proceeds Of the sales to liquidate share of international any the
Consequently the defendants/ counter claim as follows:
An order directing AMCON to return the share of the defendant in custody of AMCON, Then the court should award damages in their favour.