N8.1billon Debt: Court Restrains Stella Oduah From Operating Company Account

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A federal high court sitting in Lagos  south west Nigeria has restrained Senator  Stella  Ada Oduah and Sea Petroleum and Gas Company  Limited and its directors from making any withdrawal whatsoever  from the account of the company and three other Limited Liability companies, Sea Shipping  Agency Limited, Rotary  Engineering Services Limited, and Tour Afrique Company Limited domicile with 21 commercial  banks listed before the court over indebtedness of $16,412,819.06 and N100,493,225.59.

The court  also granted an order directing the said commercial banks having Stella Oduah and the four companies’ asset to sequestrate up to the indebtedness of Stella Oduah and Sea petroleum and Gas Company Limited in the sum of $16,412,819.06 and N100,493,225.59 respectively owed by Stella  Oduah and Sea Petroleum and Gas company as at November 2016 and keep same in an interest yielding account in the name of the chief Registrar of the Federal court pending the determination of the suit filed before the court to recover the debt.

The order of the court was sequel to an affidavit sworn to by business manager, Maritime of Sterling Bank Plc, Mr Segun Akinsanya, filed and argued before the court by a Lagos lawyer Barrister Kemi Balogun  (SAN).

Akinsanya in the affidavit avered  that on October 8,2012, the bank granted a lease /cabotage  vessel  finance facility to Sea Petroleum and Gas Company in the sum of $10,069,620.25 to finance one unit 5,000MTtanker vessel..

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The loan was secured by unconditional personal guarantee of the companies director,Princess Stella Oduah  supported   by statement of her networth, legal mortgage of two properties worth N135million, power of Attorneys of the tanker vessel in favour of Sterling Bank and fully executed irrevocable  standing payment order and tripartite remitance agreement between First Bank  plc,  Sterling Bank and Stella Oduah.

It was further averred that between June 27.,2013 Sea petroleum company requested for and was granted additional facilities in the sum of $449,600.00 for post delivery expences, $642,954.00 and $350,000 to meet the requisite  conditions in securing of the Federal High Court in securing the release  of the tanker.

Upon  the persistent failure of the defendants to liquidate their indebtedness Sterling Bank  instructed the law firm of Oluwakemi BALOGUN to recover the debt.

Despite several reminders, demands, pleas and persuasion emanated from the bank and it’s solicitor the defendants have failed and refused to liquidate their indebtedness which has culminated in the sum of $16,412,819.06.and N100,493,225.59 as at November 2016

Akinsanya also averred that the defendants are also greatly indebted to a number of banks and have conceded a number of Assets to AMCON  who have stepped into the shoes of those banks,therefore there is imminent risk of the defendants dissipating the assets of the companies therefore urged the court to grant the order restraining Stella Oduah and other directors of Sea Petroleum and Gas company from withdrawing money from the account of the companies domicile with 21 banks listed before the court, pending the final determination of the debt recovery suit.

Meanwhile, based on ex -parte application filed and argued before the court by Mr Kemi Balogun, SAN that it has been  difficult to serve court process and order on the defendants,the presiding judge,justice Abdulaziz Anka has ordered that court process should be advertised in Newspapers.

Meanwhile, Stella Oduah and her companies while urging the court to discharge the order made against them also filed preliminary objection to the suit urging the court to strike out the suit on the ground that the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the suit. Mr Kemi Balogun SAN on behalf of the bank vehemently opposed the two applications.

Justice Anka has adjourned till 20th of March, 2017 to decide either to vacate the order or not.

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