Court orders loan repayment by firm
The claimant, through her counsel Mr. John Dare Oloyede, who led K.C Atuenyi and Laide Safiu, sued the company for failing to repay loans obtained from her company.
The defendant reneged on the repayment agreement on the excuse that the interest rates violated Money Lenders Law of Rivers State.
In a judgment on the suit numbered PHC/204/2016, Justice Suzzette Nyesom-Wike held that Joexpora Nigeria Limited breached the contract and rdered the defendant to pay the claimant the sum of N15,550,000 being the total outstanding accrued interest on the principal sum.
The judge ordered the firm to pay 2.5 percent interest on the N53 million and the N15,550,000 from January 29, 2016 until judgment, and 2.5 per cent interest on the sums post-judgment and until they are liquidated.
Justice Nyesom Wike struck out the defendant’s counter-claim for lacking in merit and held that Joexpora Nigeria was bound to honour its agreement reached with Ebinyasi when obtaining the loans.
The judge said: “I hold that it would be inequitable for the defendant to approbate and reprobate at the same time, to take the benefit of the contract in question and as the same time plead that the contract is illegal.”
The judge added that the defendant must be presumed to have knowledge of the illegality in the transaction at hand, but had gone ahead to draw benefit therefrom.
Joexpora Nigeria, between August 14, 2013 and September 22, 2014, collected a total of $3million (53 million) in three instalments with agreed interest rates from the claimant to resuscitate its ailing business.
The claimant, a licensed money lender, gave the loans to the defendant as follows: N30 million on August 14, 2013 with interest rate of 5 percent; 15 million on June 16, 2014 at 7.5 percent interest; and N8 million on September 22, 2014 with 7.5 percent interest.
Between April 30, 2015 and September 14, 2015, the defendant issued several cheques purportedly to settle the outstanding sums due to the complainant, all of which bounced on presentation.
In a counter claim, the defendant cited the Money Laundering Law of Rivers State, arguing that the interest rates charged by the claimant were in excess of the statutory simple interest rates of 48 percent per annum or four percent per month.
However, Oloyede argued that the claimant did not breach the Money Lenders Law of Rivers State, as the loans ought to have been repaid on or before October 22, 2014 and justice Nyesom-Wike agreed with the claimant’s arguments.
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