Alleged $16.4m Debt: Court Fixes Jan. 25, 2.18, for Sterling Bank Suit Against Sen. Stella Oduah, Others

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A Federal High Court Lagos, on toay, fixed January 25, 2018, for hearing of a suit filed by Sterling Bank against Senator Stella Oduah, over alleged indebtedness to the sum of $16.4 million USD, and N100.5 million.
The court presided over by Justice Ayotunde Faji, fixed the new date following series of applications filed by the bank and Senator Oduah and other respondents in the suit.
Other respondents are: Sea Petroleum and Gas Company Limited: Sea Shipping Agency Limited, Rotary Engineering Services Limited, and Tour Afrique Company Limited.
Sterling bank Plc, had alleged that Oduah and her companies, were indebted to it in the sums of 16.4 million dollars and N100.5 million.
When the matter came up for trial, lawyer to the Sterling Bank Plc, Funke Aboyade (SAN), and lawyer to Oduah and other respondents, which includes: Mr. Onya O, Mrs. Esom E., and Mrs. Idowu, told the court of their clients’ various applications pending before the court.
Some of the applications includes, an application challenging the competence of the suit, application challenging court’s jurisdiction to entertain the case, and application to discharge mareva injunction earlier granted Sterling Bank, by the former trial judge, Justice Abdulaziz Anka.
The Sterling Bank Plc’s lawyer, Aboyade (SAN), applied to court for extension of time to enable her respond to the respondents’ applications.
After listening to the submissions of all parties, Justice Ayotunde, fixed January 25, 2018, for hearing of all pending application.
It will be recalled that the The court presided over by Justice Abdulaziz Anka, had sometimes in March, this year, issued an order, restraining Oduah and her companies, from making any withdrawal from its account and those of three other companies domiciled with 21 banks in the country.
Justice Anka had also issued an order directing the said commercial banks harbouring the assets of Oduah and other respondents to sequestrate their indebtedness as at November 2016.
The court had also ordered that the money be kept in an interest yielding account in the name of the chief Registrar of the Federal court, pending the determination of the suit.
However, upon transfer of Justice Anka outside Lagos division of the court the matter was reassigned to Justice Faji.
Sterling Bank Plc, in an affidavit in support of the suit, deposed to by one of its staff, Segun Akinsanya, averred that on October 8, 2012, it granted a lease/Cabotage  Vessel  Finance Facility (CVFF) to Sea Petroleum and Gas Company.
He said that the facility was in the said sums to finance one unit 5,000 MT tanker vessel.
He averred that the loan was secured by an unconditional personal guarantee of the companies’ director, Princess Stella Oduah.
Akinsanya also averred that same was supported by a statement of her net worth, legal mortgage of two properties worth N135 billion, and a power of Attorney of the tanker vessel in favour of Sterling Bank.
He averred that also in support was a fully executed standing payment order and tripartite remittance agreement between it and Oduah.
It was further averred that on June 27, 2013, Sea Petroleum Company requested and was granted additional facilities in the sum of about 450,000 dollars for post delivery expenses.
He said that also granted was about 993, 000 dollars to meet the requisite conditions in securing the release of the tanker.
Also, he averred that upon the persistent failure of the defendants to liquidate their indebtedness, Sterling Bank instructed its counsels to recover the debt.
He said that in spite of several reminders, and demands, the defendants had failed and refused to liquidate their indebtedness which had culminated to 16.4 million dollars, and about N100.5 million as at November 2016.
He averred that there was imminent risk of the defendants dissipating the assets of the companies, and had urged the court to issue a restraining order.

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