By Akin Kuponiyi
A federal high court sitting in Lagos south west Nigeria has granted an order for AMCON to take over valuable assets of a Lagos businessman, Tijani Babatunde Folawiyo, over an unpaid debt of N727.9 millio.
The order was sequel to an application filed before the court by the law firm of Seun Omotoba, and the written address was moved by Barrister Amobi Agu urging the court to grant the following orders:
“An of the Honourable Court, granting leave to the Applicant to take interim possession of the property of the Respondent pending final determination of this suit;
An order of the Honourable Court compelling the Respondent, his agents, servants and creditors to deliver to the Applicant possession of all his assets, bank accounts or any other asset wherever located in satisfaction of the Judgment of the Honourable Court delivered by Honourable Justice Ibrahim Buba in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/207/17 dated the 30th Day of October 2017 with accruing interest.
An order of the Honourable Court compelling the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria (SEC) other subordinates jointly and severally attached to him, and under his authority, control and/or supervision to assist the Applicant in securing and/or preserving the shares listed in the name of the Respondent on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
An order of the Honourable Court freezing the Bank accounts of the Respondent maintained with the following banks: Access Bank Plc, Citibank of Nigeria Limited; Diamond Bank Nigeria Plc; Ecobank Nigeria Limited; Enterprise Bank Limited; Fidelity Bank Plc; First Bank of Nigeria Limited, First City Monument Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Keystone Bank Limited, Skye Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank
Plc, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Wema Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.
An order of the Honourable Court granting leave to the Applicant to take interim possession of the property of the Respondent at Block 138, plot 13, Tunde Joda Drive, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos State all of which belongs to the Respondent/debtor pending final determination of this suit.
And for such further order or other orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”
The presiding Judge, Lewis Allagoa after listening to the submission and moving in terms of the motion papers and written address filed before the court by Barrister Amobi Agu, granted the orders as prayed, thereafter the case was adjourned till 16th of May,2022.
In an affidavit in support of motion papers sworn to by a staff of AMCON, vested with the responsibility to recover the debt against the defendant, Jania Ochonogo and filed before the court by Mr Seun Omotoba, it was alleged that by a letter dated February 05, 2004, Spring Bank offered Companies de Logistic Nigeria Limited, a credit facility of N250 million for Duty payment/clearing cost for blue-chip companies; Door-to-door logistics; and finance of confirmed/unconfirmed letters of credit for blue-chip companies based on irrevocable Local purchase orders LPO.
Mr Tijani Babatunde Folawiyo, as contained in the affidavit, is a director of Compagnie de Logistic (NIG) limited, who was appointed by a valid resolution of the board of directors dated 11th September 2000. Attached and Marked Exhibits AM 1, AM2 AM3 is the certified true copy of the said resolution appointing him a director, the CO7 of the company dated 19th September 2000 and certified true copy of the CO2 filed on 28th August 2001 at the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja showing the distribution of the restructured Five Million share capital of the Judgment Debtor as follows:
Bolo Alain Laurent – 1, 750, 000
Kluba Sylvain Stephane – 1, 750, 000
Folawiyo Babatunde – 1, 500, 000.
The credit facility was granted to the Companies de Logistic Nigeria Limited Company by Spring Bank based on the personal guarantee and representation of one of the Directors that cheques would be issued from time to time to fully liquidate the facility through proceeds from LPO domiciled with the Bank.
The tenor of the facility was one year with the proviso that the pricing of the facility was well stated in the aforesaid letter of offer dated 5th February 2004 as shown:
i. Interest Rate 23%
ii. COT 1.75/mile on debit turnover
iii. Facility Fee 0.5% flat
iv. LC Commission 0.5% flat
The Company accepted the Facility and the acceptance portion of the letter of offer was duly endorsed and returned on behalf of the company.
AMCON acquired the Company’s loan from Spring/Enterprise Bank and the outstanding balance as of January1,2011 was N292,304,900.00 and the amount has grown to N533,396,381.11
The Companies de Logistic company received the full complement of the sum of N250 million as the approved facility. The loan agreements between the bank and the company had since expired and sums therein are due for repayment, and AMCON had demanded the repayment.
By a Writ of Summons dated 14th day of February 2017 in suit number FHC/L/CS/207/17, AMCON commenced an action against Compagnie Generale De Logistique (NIG) Limited and Another claiming against the Defendants, the sum of =N=522,464,978.66 being the total outstanding debt due and payable to AMCON on a loan advanced to the Respondent’s company at 23% interest per annum from the date of filing the suit till judgment and thereafter at the rate of 10% per annum until final liquidation.
AMCON also filed a Motion on Notice dated the 16th August 2017 praying the Court to enter final Judgment in default of appearance as per its reliefs in the Statement of Claim.
On the 30th October 2017 the Court granted the said reliefs sought by AMCON in the said Motion on Notice and enter Judgment in favour of AMCON against the responden2ts in the sum of N522,464,978.66 at 23% interest per annum from the date the case was filed and till when Judgement will be delivered and thereafter at the rate of 10% per annum until final liquidation of the debt.
Mr Tijani Babatunde Folawiyo is to date one of the directing minds of the company.
The Judgment Sum due from Tijani Babatunde Folawiyo to AMCON as at
February 2020 is the sum of =N=727, 967,870.03 being the outstanding judgment sum delivered by the Court on the 30th October 2017 when the interest element is applied on the judgment sum.
The said Judgment is still wholly unsatisfied as at the time of filing this suit to the amount stated above.
AMCON is desirous of recovering the said debt from the Respondent urgently, hence AMCON has approached the court to assist it to take possession of the Respondent’s shares, bank accounts or any other asset wherever located in satisfaction of the Judgment sum with accruing interest. Attached hereto and marked as Exhibit AM 7 are the documents showing the various shares with different companies and their respective values.
That the sole owner of the property situate at Block 138, plot 13, Tunde
Joda Drive, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos State pledged as security for the facilities granted Companies de Logistic company by the Bank. Attached hereto and marked as
Exhibit AM 8 is the Certified True Copy of the Certificate of occupancy of the Respondent’s property dated 20th October 2015 registered as No.79A, Page 79A, Volume 2012 and the picture of the Respondent’s property.
Unless the orders sought are If the respondent will dissipate the funds in his accounts orders in his accounts and dispose of the shares, AMCON has a legal right which ought to be
protected by the grant of the orders sought.
Jania Ochonogo avers that AMCON has means and is willing to compensate the Defendant in damages if it turns out that the orders being sought ought not to have been granted, but in the interest of justice urges the court to grant this application and the Defendant will not be prejudiced if this application is granted.