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Rear Admiral Osunmakinde in N1.08 Billion Debt Saga

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In a bid to satisfy the judgement sum of N1,087,222,282.38, a Federal high court sitting in Lagos south west Nigeria has ordered the attachment of money belonging to former Nigerian Navy Hydrographer Rear Admiral Ayodele Osunmakinde, his wife Janet Osunmakinde and thier company Golden Giant Industries Limited, to the extent of the N1,087,222,282,38, being the judgement debt pursuant to the judgement of the court entered on 1st day of July, 2022.

       The court in acceding to the request of the judgement creditor also made the following orders:

    An order that the 25 Garnishee banks joined in the suit disclose forthwith the sum outstanding belonging to the Judgment Debtors with the Garnishee banks and that such disclosure should be made on oath and verified by an affidavit and filed before the Court within 14 days from the date of service of the Order.

    An order that the 25 Garnishee banks shall appear before the Court on the next adjourned date or as may be directed by the Court to show cause (if any) why an Order should not be made upon them for the amount of money due and owing or accruing from the 25 Garnishee banks to the said Judgment Debtors or so much thereof as will satisfy the sum of N1,087,222,282.38 being the outstanding judgement debt pursuant to the judgement of this court.

Upon reading the affidavit in support of the application filed before the court, and after hearing Barrister Opeyemi Adekoya for the judgement creditor move in terms of the application, the presiding Judge, Yellin Bogoro granted the orders as prayed.

   Ecobank Nigeria Limited alongside its two debt recovery agents Eti Specialized Finance Company Plc and Eti Specialized Resolution Company dragged Retired Rear Admiral Ayodele Osunmakinde,his wife Janet Osunmakinde and their comp Golden Giant Industries Limited  before a Federal high court in Lagos south west Nigeria, to recover a debt of N1,087,222,282.38

    The plaintiffs were also demanding for interest on the said sum at the rate of 6 percent from 30th September 2021 until judgement is delivered and thereafter at the rate of 10 percent till the liquidation of the judgement debt.

 However, the Defendants in a Motion on Notice dated January 20, 2022, filed before the court  accused Ecobank of deliberately master-minded the manipulations of the company’s account to throw him into toxic debt and create an advantage for it’s debt recovery agents to take over his account.

The defendants stated further that contrary to the refinancing plan and the intervention purpose of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to revive ailing industries in Nigeria through the Central Bank of Nigeria/Bank Of Industry Intervention Fund, Ecobank, took the bulk of the fund released through them, deducted and held on to the sum of N292,000.000.00  out of the N450,000.000.00  which was released by the Bank of Industry.

        The plaintiffs in a suit filed before the court through their counsel, Barrister Opeyemi Adekoya  alleged that sometimes in 1997, the Golden Giant Industries Limited applied for foreign input facility (FIF) a NEXIM facility of N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira Only) through the defunct Hallmark Bank Limited, which was granted via its offer letter dated January 1997.

The bank stated that Securities for the said facility of N50,000,000.00 (Fifty Million Naira) include, Chattel Mortgage, over equipment and machinery ‘of the company at EPZ Calabar, Joint and personal guarantee of principal promoter/Director for N50, 000,000.00 (fifty Million Naira) supported by notorized statement of personal worth and the Deed of Chattel Mortgage dated 26th August 1998.

     In an affidavit, deposed to by Banke Ibitoye, a recovery manager in the service of the Eti specialized finance company, Ecobank stated that in the year 2003, the company applied to Hallmark bank Plc for an increase in overdraft and Finance facilities which Hallmark bank limited granted via its letter of offer and acceptance dated October 14, 2003, leaving a total balance of N212,931,020.03.

It stated further that the Golden Giant Industries company again in the year 2004, applied to Hallmark bank for an overdraft facility of N270, 000,000.00, which Hallmark granted via its letter of offer and acceptance dated September 17, 2004.

 While, in the year 2005, the company applied to Hallmark Bank Plc for N389,900,688.93 credit facility which Hallmark Bank Limited granted via its letter of offer’ and acceptance dated. April 29, 2005, which was duly accepted and utilized.

The bank added that the dynamics of the credit facilities granted to the company  require that the company  ensured that cash flow from the company business operations is domiciled in the company’s account in Ecobank Bank to make repayment of outstanding obligations on the facilities.

Ecobank stated that contrary to the dynamics of the transaction the cash flow from the company’s business operations were not domiciled in the company’s account in Ecobank , as a result of which the company is now heavily indebted to the Plaintiffs.

     The plaintiffs stated that in a demand letter dated November 18, 2016, it requested the company to pay  concession amount as full and final settlement of his outstanding indebtedness within Six months from the date of the said letter but the company refused to pay the said concession sum.

However, in their response, the Defendants stated that contrary to the disposition made by Banke Ibitoye, the company has started paying and is still paying directly to Nexim Bank to date.

The company stated that the only letter of Offer and acceptance it acknowledged was the one dated January 30, 1997, and that it made various payments to Nexim Bank and Hallmark Bank, which records and statements were not part of the processes filed before the court by the plaintiffs

    The Defendants added that prior to the time thier  properties were sold and  payment made to Ecobank, they did not hear from Hallmark bank for more than a period of two years until the Ecobank contacted them that they have bought over its account from Hallmark bank.

They stated that they were not part of the processes that led to the said take over neither were they contacted for reconciliation or to ascertain the amount they are owing Hallmark Bank nor disclose how much the debt was bought.

 Since Hallmark Bank has not been functioning, they started looking for other opportunities to finance thier business through other avenues, including the Federal Government Textile intervention fund through Central bank.

The company stated that in May 2010, it initiated a discussion with  Ecobank, but instead of applying on behalf of the company  for the Textile Intervention Fund through the CBN/BOI, Ecobank offered to refinance the alleged debt being owed by him through the Central Bank of Nigeria/Bank of Industry Intervention Fund for the manufacturing sector.

The company, stated further  that contrary to the refinancing plan and the intervention purpose of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to revive ailing industries in Nigeria through the Central Bank of Nigeria/Bank of Industry Intervention Fund, Ecobank took the bulk of the fund released through the bank deducted and held on to the sum of N292,000.000.00 (Two hundred and Ninety-two million Naira) out of the N450,000.000.00 (Four Hundred and Fifty Million) released by the Bank of Industry).

   The company  collected only a meager sum of N22, 000,000.00 (twenty-two million Naira) out of the said N450M grant by the CBN to run his business, which was released to him in trickles after several applications and pleadings.

     Consequently, the purpose of the said Central Bank of Nigeria/Bank of Industry Intervention Fund for the manufacturing sector to enable him revive his business was completely scuttled and defeated by Ecobank and it’s debt recovery agent.

    After the submission and adoption of written addresses of the two parties,the presiding Judge Yelling Bogoro,in his judgement said:

     In all ,I find that the affidavit filed by the defendants  does not disclose any defect on the merit and from the facts deposed thereto, I have not seen any conflict  or serious  triable issues to warrant this matter transferred to the general cause list.For this reason,I enter judgement for the plaintiffs against the defendants.I make this order,

        Judgement is hereby entered for the plaintiffs against the Defendants jointly. The Defendants shall jointly and severally thus:

The Defendants shall jointly and severally pay the sum ofN1,087,272,282.38 (One Billion, Eighty Seven Million, Two Hundred and Seventy Two Thousand, Two Hundred and Eighty

Two Naira, Thirty Eight Kobo) as at the 30 September, 2021 being outstanding balance of the indebtedness of the Golden Giant Industries Limited to the Plaintiff arising from the credit facility granted to the company and guaranteed by Retired Rear Admiral Ayodele Osunmakinde and Janet Osunmakinde and interest on the said sum as at the rate of 6% per annum from the 30th September, 2021 until Judgment is given and thereafter at the rate of 10% till the liquidation of the Judgment debt.

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