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Controversy trails receivership of Ogun multi-billion naira firm

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Managing Director, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mrs Adepeju Adebajo (left); Minister for Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe; Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; and Chairman, Phillips Consulting, Foluso Phillips, at the closing ceremony of Ogun State investors forum, in Abeokuta, yesterday.

Managing Director, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mrs Adepeju Adebajo (left); Minister for Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe; Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun; and Chairman, Phillips Consulting, Foluso Phillips, at the closing ceremony of Ogun State investors forum, in Abeokuta, yesterday.

An Ogun State multi-billion naira foods’ manufacturing firm, Multi-Trex Integrated Foods Plc is in the eye of the storm.

Reason? There are claims and counter-claims of receivership over its management and assets, including landed property of the company, located along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Warewa, Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State.

At the centre of the dispute is whether the firm is under receivership or not.

And that is the fulcrum of litigation pending before a Federal High Court, Ogun State Judicial Division.

While the suit lasted, there has been sharp divide between the parties, as they had equally taken to the public space to assert and or explain their sides of the story.

Messrs. Tosin Shaba, a counsel to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in the receivership dispute, had claimed that AMCON had appointed him as the authentic receiver-manager of the company.

According to him, “in the exercise of the powers vested in me, I have been in possession of the company’s factory situate at Warewa along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway since June 2015.

“By the operation of law, on the receiver can act for and on behalf of the company in respect of its properties, chattels, funds and choses in action.”

Shaba, therefore, maintained that the directors, officers and employers of Multi-Trex Integrated Foods Plc have no right or authority to enter into any transaction for and on behalf of the company or deal with any of the company’s properties, chattels or funds wherever they are situated or kept.

But in quick response, counsel to the agricultural firm, Ademola Adesina, debunked Shaba’s claim, urging the public to disregard his assertions, saying there is a pending matter before a Federal High Court, Abeokuta, Ogun State concerning the receivership of the company.

“In the circumstance, our clients urge the general public, particularly, the banks, financial institutions and all other persons having contractual relationship with Multi-Trex to completely and totally disregard the public notic by Tosin Shaba.”

According to Adesina, Shaba, who is holding himself out as receiver appointed by AMCON in respect of Multi-Trex, instituted a suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos and obtained several far-reaching ex-parte orders against the company.

Following the suit, Multi-Trex challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit on several cogent grounds, including but not limited to the plaintiff’s non-compliance with the extant provisions of the AMCON of Nigeria Act 2010, as amended in 2015.

“These jurisdictional objections duly argued and ruling adjourned. However, during the pendency of the suit, Shaba went ahead and got himself appointed as a receiver of Multi-Trex by AMCON in complete and utter disregard for the age-long principle of lis pendis, which prohibits parties who have submitted their dispute to the court for determination, from employing self-help, interfering with and/or taking any steps during the pendency of that action.”

Adesina added that instead for AMCON’s counsel to wait for the ruling of the court on the objections over jurisdictional, Shaba under the guise of his appointment as receiver of the company, filed a notice of discontinuance at a Lagos Division of the Federal High Court and on the same date filed another suit, this time at the Federal High Court, Abeokuta Judicial Division.

By this suit, it was said that Shaba was/is seeking to exercise all the powers of a receiver to realize the assets of Multi-Trex.

“Just like the Lagos suit, Tosin Shaba once again applied for and obtained wide ex-parte orders for possession of all that premises properly described as the land lying and situate at Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Warewa, Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State.”

Also, Shaba sought an order restraining all defendants, their servants, agents, privies, and assigns from transferring and or purporting to deal with or transfer the said property in any manner whatsoever.

“However, Tosin Shaba refused to disclose to the court that the property lying and situate at Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, was actually the location of Multi-Trex expansive factory and the base of its entire manufacturing operations, where manufacturing equipment worth multi-billions of naira are installed.”

Adesina claimed that one of the specific prayers sought in the ex-parte application was an order directing Tosin Shaba to act as receiver in respect of Multi-Trex, but the court expressly refused that prayer.

He added that on of the applications pending before the court is seeking an order setting aside the purported appointment of Tosin Shaba as a receiver of Multi-Trex on various grounds.

Furthermore, AMCON’s counsel said that, this application together with other applications challenging the jurisdiction of the court are still pending before the Abeokuta Division of the Federal High Court.

“In view of the pendency of the matter before Abeokuta Federal High Court, “Our clients state that it is legally inappropriate, out rightly misleading and downright unbecoming for Tosin Shaba to hold himself out the way he has done”, adding the manner AMCON’s counsel had conducted himself flouted the court order refusing his prayer to act as the receiver of Multi-Trex and take such steps as may be necessary “To realize the assets of the company.”


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