Court restrains energy firms, others from accessing funds over N32b debt dispute
A Federal High Court, Lagos, has restrained Shebah Exploration and Production Company Ltd, Sheban Petroleum Development Company Ltd and Dr. Ambrose Orjiako and persons acting on their behalf from withdrawing from the accounts of nine other defendants and 29 banks.
Justice Yellin Bogoro gave the interim order while granting an ex parte Mareva application applied for by a new generation bank through its counsel, Mr. Kemi Balogun (SAN), in the matter of an alleged $78,426,578.64, translating to N32, 022,202,080 debt in today’s conversion.
The injunction restrained the trio and their proxies in Nigeria, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, the European Union and any jurisdiction worldwide, pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s motion on notice.
The 4th to 8th defendants are companies in which the 3rd defendant has substantial interest. The 4th to 9th respondents are Seplat Petroleum Development Plc; Zebra Energy Nigeria Ltd; Glencore UK Ltd; Abbey Court Energy Service Ltd; Neimeth Pharmaceutical International Plc; All Trustees, Proxies, Agents, Nominees and all individuals or body corporates holding the asset or assets of the 3rd defendant, Dr Orjiako.
The judge further restrained the 4th to 9th defendants or persons acting on their behalf from dissipating, disposing of, selling, transferring, alienating, and/or moving out of the court’s jurisdiction any asset and other instruments in the name of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, defendants or acquired by the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd defendants, anywhere in the world.
The order also restrained Dr. Orjiako from receiving and/or otherwise dissipating any dividend or profits held by anyone appointed by him and through any scheme, which is under the custody of the 4th to 9th defendants.
The interim order of Mareva injunction also barred the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants from disposing any of their assets.
“Leave is granted to the plaintiff to serve the originating processes and all other processes filed and to be filed in this suit on the 2nd, 6th and 9th defendants through DHL Courier Company to their respective addresses,” Justice Bogoro held.
Alternatively, he directed the bank to publish all the originating processes and other processes filed in two national dailies and adjourned till November 17, for Report of Service
In arguing the application, Balogun told the court that pursuant to deeds of guarantee executed by the 2nd and 3rd defendants, “the plaintiff availed the 1st defendant several facilities, which have now culminated in outstanding indebtedness of $78,426,578.64 as of August 31, 2021, and interest continues to accrue.
He averred: “In a bid to avoid the indebtedness that has arisen from the various facilities to the 1st defendant by the plaintiff, the defendants have started taking steps to dissipate their assets.”