Shipping debt: I am not owing any bank, says Oduah

Stella Oduah

Former Minister of Aviation and Senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District, Stella Oduah, has described as untrue allegations that she was indebted to some commercial banks in Nigeria.

On Wednesday, a Federal High Court in Lagos restrained Oduah and her company, Sea Petroleum from making withdrawals from 21 accounts in some banks.

But in an interview with newsmen, Oduah said she had resigned from Sea Petroleum, which was alleged to be indebted to the banks.

“I resigned from the company since 2010. Sterling got injunction on earlier order. They gave Sea Petroleum shipping facility to buy vessel. They defaulted, but the order lapsed today.

“The lawyers appealed for set aside. That was what they argued and order was set aside,” she said.

The Federal High Court in Lagos restrained Oduah and the company from making any withdrawal from its account and those of three other companies domiciled with 21 banks.

The other companies are 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 $16.4 million and N100.5 million.

Also, the court issued an order directing the said commercial banks harbouring the assets of Oduah and the four companies to sequestrate their indebtedness as of November 2016.

The court ordered that the money should be kept in an interest yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of the Federal High 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 Segun Akinsanya, a business manager of Sterling Bank Plc, filed and argued before the court by its counsel, Kemi Balogun (SAN).

Akinsanya averred that same was supported by a statement of her net worth, legal mortgage of two property worth N135 billion, 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 Oduah.

The plaintiff urged the court to grant the order restraining 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.

The presiding judge, Abdulaziz Anka, consequently ordered that the court processes be advertised in national newspapers.

Meanwhile, the companies have 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 it out for “lack of jurisdiction”.

Anka fixed March 20 to decide whether or not to vacate the order.


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