FIRST BANK ACCUSE BUSINESSMAN OF N12.4BILLION DEBT

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited has accused the Managing Director of an oil company, Index Petrolube Africa Limited, Ezeani Nnamdi Thankgod of scandalising the Nigerian banking sector with monumental debts of N12.4 billion to various financial institutions in Nigeria.

The bank, through its lawyer, Ade Oyebanji, made the accusation at the Federal High Court in Lagos at the resumed hearing into a debt recovery suit filed against the businessman and his company.

The bank had dragged Thankgod, his company, and a Director of the company, Obinna Ezeani Nnamdi before the court and secured a mareva injunction restraining them from operating their bank accounts in twenty commercial banks in Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

The court had specifically ordered all the banks to file an affidavit before the court to disclose the state of accounts of the defendants in their accounts, the order had since been complied with.

The defendants had filed an application to set aside the mareva injunction, alleging that First Bank suppressed and misrepresented material facts before securing the order.

In the application to set aside the mareva injunction, the defendants had accused the bank of failing to put them on notice before securing such order, and that the injunction was capable of crippling their business. Consequently, the defendants urged the court to discharge the mareva injunction, or in the alternative, allow them to continue to operate their accounts in respect of payments for importation, purchase, distribution or supply of petroleum products by or from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Pipeline and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) Limited, and other suppliers of such products within and outside Nigeria.

The defendants, were also urging the court to allow them to have access to their accounts to meet their other obligations.

In his response Mr. Oyebanji urged the court to discontinue the application, as the defendants had scandalized the entire banking sector with several debts which they owe various commercial banks in Nigeria.

According to Oyebanji, from the affidavits filed by various banks in accordance with the court order, it was clear that the defendants were indebted to various banks to the tune of N12.4 billion, some of which had become toxic debt by the virtue of the involvement of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

He said even the defendants admitted in their affidavit in support of the application to discharge the mareva injunction that they were owing First Bank N227,982,005.24, and that the court should not allow such debtor as the defendants, who have “scandalised” the banking sector, to continue to enjoy the funds, which as a matter of fact belong to depositors and shareholders.

Justice Mohammed Idris fixed November 21, 2014 for ruling.

According to the statement of claim filed before the court by Barrister Ade Oyebanji, First Bank is claiming a total of N361,239,448.78 from the defendants and interest at the rate of 18 percent from March 17, 2014 till the liquidation of the entire debt.

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