A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has restrained Stella Oduah and Sea Petroleum and Gas Company Ltd., from making any withdrawal from its account and those of three other companies domiciled with 21 banks.
The other companies include Sea Shipping Agency Ltd, Rotary Engineering Services Ltd, and Tour Afrique Company Ltd. The court issued the orders over an alleged indebtedness of the defendants in the sum of about $16.4m and N100.5m.
Also, the court issued an order directing the said commercial banks harbouring the assets of Stella Oduah and the four companies to sequestrate their indebtedness as at November 2016.
The court ordered that same should be kept in an interest yielding account in the name of the chief Registrar of the Federal court, pending the determination of the suit filed before the court to recover the debt.
The order of the court was sequel to an affidavit deposed to by Business Manager of Sterling Bank Plc., Segun Akinsanya, filed and argued before the court by its Counsel, Kemi Balogun (SAN).
In the affidavit, Akinsanya averred that on Oct. 8, 2012, the bank granted a lease /Cabotage Vessel Finance Facility (CVFF) to Sea Petroleum and Gas Company 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 N135bn, and a power of Attorney of the tanker vessel in favour of Sterling Bank.
Also in support was a fully executed standing payment order and tripartite remittance agreement between First Bank plc, Sterling Bank and Stella 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 for post delivery expenses.
He said that also granted was about $993, 000 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 $16.4m, and about N100.5m as at November 2016.
Akinsanya also averred that the defendants were also greatly indebted to a number of banks and had conceded a number of assets to AMCON who had stepped into the shoes of those banks.
He averred that there was imminent risk of the defendants dissipating the assets of the companies.
The plaintiff urged the court to grant the order restraining Stella Oduah and other directors of the companies from withdrawing money from the account of the companies domiciled with 21 banks pending the determination of the debt recovery suit.
In an ex -parte application filed and argued before the court by Balogun, he stated that it had been difficult to serve court processes on the defendants.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Abdulaziz Anka consequently ordered that court processes be advertised in National Newspapers. Meanwhile, Stella Oduah and her companies urged the court to discharge the order made against them.
They also filed a preliminary objection to the suit and urged the court to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction.
However, Anka fixed March 20 to decide whether o vacate the order or not.
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