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Court orders attachment of firm’s funds over N464 million alleged debt

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Justice  Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has ordered the interim attachment of all monies belonging to Forte Oil Plc and Veritas Registrars Limited in 21 banks in Nigeria over alleged N464 million debt.

The court also ordered the banks to jointly or severally appear before it to show cause why they shall not jointly or/and severally pay the judgment creditors who had unclaimed judgment against Forte oil and Veritas Registrars, the judgment debtors.
 
The order followed a Garnishee Nissi proceeding filed by Fidelity Finance Company Limited, Mr. Osa Osunde and Mr. Nosa Osunde through their counsel Onyebuchi Aniakor and Mrs. Pamela Umegbu-Amedo in respect of the sum awarded against Forte oil and Veritas Registrars by Investment & Securities Tribunal, Abuja.

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The Garnishee banks are Access bank Plc, Citibank Nigeria Ltd, Ecobank, Enterprise bank, Fidelity bank, First bank, First City Monument bank, Guarantee Trust Bank and Heritage bank.
 
Others are Keystone bank, Mainstreet bank, Polaris bank, Stanbic IBTC bank, Standard Chartered bank, Sterling bank, SunTrust bank, Union Bank, United Bank for Africa, Unity Bank, Wema Bank and Zenith Bank.

The applicants had in suit No FHC/L/CS/1117/19, sought an order attaching the judgment debtors’ accounts in the garnishee banks being unsatisfied in the sum of N464 .05 million together with the accrued compound interests therein at the rate of 18 per cent yearly from August 31, 2018, until judgment in April 12, 2019 and thereafter at the same rate until the judgment sum is fully liquidated.

They also sought additional N50 million together with the cost of the proceedings. After hearing the counsel moved in terms of the motion exparte dated July 2, 2019 and filed July 3, which came for hearing on January 14, 2021, the judge granted the prayers and adjourned till March 2, 2021 for the garnishee banks to show cause.

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The investment tribunal chaired by Siaka Isaiah Idoko-Akoh had on April 12, 2019, ordered Forte Oil and Veritas Registrars Limited in suit marked IST/OA/08/2018 to jointly or severally pay Fidelity Finance Company Limited, Mr. Osa Osunde and Mr. Nosa Osunde (claimants) the sum of N400 million as accrued outstanding dividends on their 27,114,506 units of shares of Forte Oil PLC as at August 31, 2018.
 
The judgment debtors were also ordered to issue in favour of the claimants 5,422,901 units of Forte Oil Plc shares as accrued bonus on the 27,114,506 units of shares owned by the claimants in Forte Oil Plc.

The tribunal further awarded the sum of N5 million as general damages in favour of the claimants against Forte Oil for the unjustified withholding of accrued dividends and bonus on the claimants 27,114,506 units of shares for the period of 2013-2015 as well as a compound interest at the rate of 18 per cent yearly on the said sum of N400 million from August 31, 2018 until judgment and thereafter at the same rate until the judgment sum is fully liquidated.

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High CourtNicholas Oweibo
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