N5.2bn Debt: A-Z Oil Firm’s Properties Taken Over By Union Bank, Receiver Manager

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Landed properties belonging to A-Z Petroleum Products Limited, have been taking over by the Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, and Mr. Gbenga Akinde-Peters, a receiver/manager, appointed over the properties

The taken over of the company’s landed property situated at Plot 3508 Cadastral Zone A06, Maitama District, Abuja, covered by a Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) dated September 7, 2005, and registered as No. 3586, Vol. 18, at Abuja Land Registry, was sequel to a Mareva Injunction, granted by a Federal High Court, Lagos, to the Bank.

The Mareva Injunction filed and argued by Mr. Temiloluwa Adamolekun, filed and argued was granted by court presided over by Justice (Professor) Chuka Obiozor.

Adamolekun had asked the court for an interim order to grant the second plaintiff, Akinde-Peters, who is a receiver/manager appointed by Union Bank Of Nigeria Plc, to take over the exclusive possession of this said landed property, together with any building and appurtenances thereon, by the virtue of the Deed of appointment made on July 18, 2018, pursuit to the duly registered tripartite deed of legal mortgage dated September 1, 2018.

Adamolekun had also asked the court for an order restraining both A-Z petroleum Product Limited, Chief Alex Chika Okafor, their directors, shareholders, employees, officers, agents, servants, privies and any other persons acting on their behalf, from interfering with, intermeddling with, obstructing and frustrating the Receiver/Manager from exercising all powers vested in him in performing his duty as Receiver over the said property.

The lawyer also asked the court for an order of Mareva Injunction restraining Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPRA), Federal Ministry of Finance, Debt Management Office (DMO), Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who are thirs to seven respondents, their agents, privies, assigns or anyone whatsoever from releasing any money or funds in form of Sovereign Debt Notes (SDN) or any other instruments belonging to the oil company to the tune of N5, 227, 543, 442 .9 billion, in their custody, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit of the matter.

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He further asked the court for an order directing the third and seven respondents to disclose on oath within 14 days the total sum of money, funds, and Sovereign Debit Notes (SDN), either processed or yet to be processed within the purview of Petroleum Subsidy Scheme, in their custody, belonging to the oil company.

Union Bank Plc and the Receiver/Manager, in an affidavit deposed to by Segun Omoshola, filed and argued before the Court by Adamolekun, averred that prior to the facts leading to the institution of the matter, A-Z petroleum product limited had been a customer to the bank, and in course of the bank/customer relationship and following the oil firm’s application, the bank agreed to continue to give several credit facilities to the company for the purpose of importation and or local purchase of refined Petroleum products.

The applicants averred that as security for the various loan facilities, the defendants pledged, agreed and executed a duly registered tripartite deed of legal mortgage dated September 1, 2010, over all that property on plot 3508 Cadastral Zone A06, Maitama District, Abuja, covered by a Certificate of Occupancy (CofO) dated September 7, 2005, and registered as No. 3586, Vol. 18, at Abuja Land Registry, lien over products finance, domiciliation of sales proceeds and Sovereign Debt Notes to the bank, personal guarantee of Chief Okafor and other forms of security.

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The applicants also stated that the oil firm has failed, neglect to perform its obligations to the bank, and has failed to the facilities which continued to accrue interest in line with the terms and conditions as contained in the instruments executed before the granting of facilities, and as at April 12, 2018, the company’s indebtedness to the bank stood at N5, 227, 543, 442 .9 billion, while interest continues to accrue at the bank’s lending rate.

Union Bank Plc and Akinde-Peters stated that the oil firm even though admitted the indebtedness at several occasions, but has continued to default on the performance of its obligations. Adding that despite several letter to it some of which are dated November 13, 2017, April 12, 2018, and many others, the defendants have continued to neglect their obligations to the bank.

Apart from refusal of the defendants to liquidate the indebtedness, the applicants states that the defendants are taking steps to divert and dissipate the SDNs and other funds due to firm from the Federal Ministry of Finance and other government agencies.

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They also stated that the Subsidy claims that were paid to the first defendant before now had been diverted and not paid to the bank. And that the government agencies are now on the verge of paying another Subsidy claims through SDN to the oil firm. Stating that the refusal of the defendants to liquidate their indebtedness has adversely affected the bank’s business, who is custodian of third parties/stakeholders funds.

Describing the oil firm as serial debtor, and indebted to other creditors, the applicants stated that the reliefs and orders sought from the court are envisaged by the enabling instruments executed by parties in the suit. Adding that pursuant to Clause 16 of the deed of legal mortgage, the bank appointed Mr. Gbenga Akinde-Peters Esquire, as Receiver/Manager over all the property charged in favour of the bank.

The applicants also statedthat it is very cogent that the defendants are restrained by the court in the manner prayed, so as to avoid a monumental injustice being perpetrated against the bank. And that the reliefs and orders sought.

Upon listened to the submissions of Mr. Adamolekun, lawyer to the applicants, Justice Obiozor said: “in the light of the application for Mareva order, with affidavit in support and written address and submission of the counsel, the application is succeed and hereby granted.

“The order granted is to last pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit”.

About Paul Sanusi, Lagos

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