A suit to determine whether the management of Emeka Emuwa-led Union bank of Nigeria will be able to recover its loss, a whopping N10b with an additional $5m (US Dollars) is currently pending at the federal high court, Lagos. The financial institution, Enquirermag gathered lost the staggering sum to a group of Oil firm, Petrocam Trading and one Mr. Patrick Ilo who had allegedly sold a dummy with which Union bank and its managers got hooked, line and sinker leading to the monumental loss.
The Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned till 23rd of May, 2019 to determine either the debt recovery suit of N10,062,643,928.72 and $5,247,693,.83 filed before the court by Union bank Plc against an Oil Company, Petrocam Trading Nigeria and two others Mr. Patrick Ilo and Petrocam Trading LTD South Africa can be termed as abuse of court process or not.
In a statement of claims filed before the court by Union bank Plc’s lawyer, Chief Ajibola Aribisala SAN., the bank averred that the business structure is such that while Petrocam Trading Nigeria had direct allocation for AGO importation, the company enters into joint venture agreement with interested companies that have PPPRA allocation for importation of Petrol. This is to assist companies that have allocations but lack the needed funding to do their business thereby sharing both risk and reward with the company.
Consequently, in pursuance of the banker customer relationship between September 29th, 2014 and 21st of April 2015, Union bank granted the company Import Trade Facilities to finance the importation of Petroleum products which as at 10th January, 2018 Petrocam Trading Nigeria Limited and its Managing Director /alter ego of the company, Mr. Patrick Ilo are indebted to Union bank as follows: the sum of N10,062,643,928.82 and US$5,247,963.82 with interests still running at prevailing rate
The bank further averred that although the sum of N200million was remitted into the opening account with the bank, no explanation was made by the company on the failure to remit the whole sovereign debt notes, FX and interest differentials or subsidy payments in the sum of N2,162,248,931.01 received from the Federal Government on the said letter of credit finance by the bank before the account was abandoned by the company.
Consequently, the bank claims against the defendants are as follows N10,062,643,928.72, and $5,247,693.82
with accrued interest and N20million as the cost of instituting this action.
However, the defendants in their application filed and argued before the court by their counsel, Mr. Gboyega Oyewole SAN who urged the court to dismiss or strike out the suit on the ground that, they have subsisting legal action against the bank on the same subject matter before the Lagos State High court, therefore the present suit amounts to abuse of court process.
In a counter argument and submission canvassed by Chief Ajibola Aribisala, the bank contended that the suit does not constitute an abuse of court process to the one at the Lagos high court filed by the defendants as parties, reliefs and issues are not the same. The cause of action is equally not the same.
While the suit filed at the Lagos State High Court is predicated on acts of gross negligence allegedly committed by the bank, the suit filed by the bank before the Federal high court is a debt recovery of suit, therefore, the institution of the suit at the Lagos state high court by the defendants does not preclude the bank from bringing this action before this court, therefore in the interest of justice, the counsel urged the court to dismiss the defendants’ application with heavy cost.