The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), has dragged the former commissioner for sports in Delta State, Chief Solomon Ogba, before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos in a bid to recover a debt of N513,534,765.76, he reportedly owes.
The former president of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) is not alone, AMCON also listed his company, Cleofas Communication Limited, through which he allegedly carried out the transactions.
In an affidavit sworn to by one Benjamin Akahi and filed before the court by an Abuja based lawyer, Oluwatosin Ajayi, it was alleged that, at various times between 2006 and 2007, Cleofas Communication Limited applied for various margin facilities and enhancements from the defunct Oceanic Bank International Plc for the purposes of promoting their business objectives and acquiring shares, in certain companies in Nigeria.
The aggregate of all the sums of money advanced by the bank to the defendants amounts to the sum of N380million.
However, upon the expiration of the time advanced to the company to pay back, Ogba and his company ignored, refused and neglected to pay or liquidate the debt to the bank. Eventually, the bank’s interest and rights in respect of the said loan facilities were acquired by AMCON, who later became entitled to the benefits, rights and interest of the unpaid loan.
It was alleged that a law firm, on the instruction of AMCON, wrote two letters to the defendants urging them to take steps in liquidating their indebtedness, but notwithstanding the said letters, the debtors shunned the appeal.
It was said that, as at the time of the acquisition of the debt by AMCON from Oceanic Bank in January 2011, the sum due and outstanding for payment was N298, 505,439.42, and since then, the sum has continued to accumulate interests at the rate of 15%per annum.
Sensing the obstinate attitude of Mr. Ogba and his company, therefore, AMCON reportedly briefed and instructed the law firm of Gerald Green and Associates to recover the debt on its behalf.
Meanwhile, the court has made the following orders against the defendants: An order granting interim possession and compelling the respondents to deliver possession of all their shares held in various blue chip companies. The court has also granted an order freezing the company’s account in several banks pending the final determination of this case.
And, AMCON by this legal action, is claiming against the defendants as follows: The sum of N513,534 765.76 representing the principal sum plus all the accrued interest at the rate of 15% per annum drawn up to the 15th day of November, 2018, and the sum of N4 million as cost of filling and prosecuting this claim.
However, in a statement of defence and counter claim filed by a lawyer, Barrister Victor Obaro, the defendants while denying almost all the claims by AMCON, stated that at no point in time did they approach the defunct Oceanic Bank International Plc for credit facilities nor was there any credit facility granted Cleofas as alleged by AMCON.
The defendants alleged further that the purported letter dated 29th of March 2007 purportedly applying to the bank for a margin facility of N320 million did not emanate from Cleofas, rather, Cleofas opened a margin account with Oceanic Capital Assets Management Ltd on the 3rd of May, 2006 with the sum of N30 million for the purchase and sale of shares to be managed by Oceanic Capital, being an assets management company.
Between the period of May 2006 when Cleofas margin account was opened, the statement said, several shares were purchased and sold for the company by Oceanic Capital running into millions of naira.