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Court blocks firms’ funds in 24 banks over alleged N2.1b debt

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A Federal High Court in Lagos has restrained four firms and an individual, Triton Aqua Africa Ltd, Bharat Ventures Ltd, Globus Resources Ltd, Seafood Products Ltd and Mr. Ashvin Samtani from accessing their funds up to N2.1 billion in 24 banks.

Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo, who made the order in suit No. FHCLCS/354/2021, ruled that the interim order subsists pending the hearing and determination of the motion and notice filed by Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.

The judge also restrained the respondents in the interim from disposing their assets at 49 Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Ijeshatedo, Lagos and 27, Inuwa Abdulkadir Road, Kakuri Industrial Layout, Kaduna South Local Council, Kaduna.

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The banks, which are the sixth to 28th respondents, are Fidelity Bank, First Bank of Nigeria, First City Monument Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Globus Bank Ltd, Heritage Bank, Jaiz Bank Ltd, Keystone Bank Ltd, Polaris Bank Ltd, Providus Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria Ltd, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Ltd, Sterling Bank, Suntrust Bank Nigeria Ltd. Titan Trust Bank Ltd, United Bank for Africa, Unity Bank, Wema Bank and Zenith Bank Plc.

The order followed Union Bank’s March 4, 2021 motion ex-parte in the alleged debt recovery suit filed by Gbenga Akinde-Peters of Temilolu Adamolekun & Co.

The judge stopped the five defendants “from dealing with any of the monies standing to their credit in custody or that may come to be in custody of the respondents up to the tune of N2,193,610,859.47 or its equivalent in any foreign currency, pending the hearing and determination of the motion and notice.

She further restrained the banks or anyone acting on their behalf from releasing to the first to fifth defendants any monies, funds or any other instrument belonging to them up to N2,193,610,859.47 or its equivalent in any foreign currency, that may be or found in their custody or possession.

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She further restrained Triton Aqua Africa, Bharat Ventures, Globus Resources, Seafood Products and Samtani or anyone under their authority from tempering with their assets/properties within their premises at 49 Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Ijeshatedo, Lagos State.

The first to fifth defendants or anyone under their authority were also restrained from tempering howsoever with any of the first to third defendants’ assets/properties “within the premises of the property at 27, Inuwa Abdulkadir Road, Kakuri Industrial Layout, Kaduna South Local Council, Kaduna, particularly but not limited to all the assets/properties of the fourth defendant, which have been charged in favour of the plaintiff by virtue of a Deed of all Assets Debenture dated May 25, 2011 between Seafood Products Ltd (the issuer) and the plaintiff on the account of the second defendant.”

The sixth to 28th respondents were also directed “to disclose on oath whatever sum of money that may be in their custody belonging to the defendants for further direction of the court.”

The judge adjourned till April 14, 2021 for hearing of the interlocutory application.

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