29th July, 2010
A businessman, Mr. Cletus Ibeto and his company, IBG Investment Company Limited, have slammed N15 billion suit on Afribank Nigeria Plc, over an alleged breach of banking facilities agreement existing between the two parties.
Also joined as co-defendant in the ensuing legal warfare is a warehousing agent, Continental Logistics Limited.
In a statement of claim filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos, South West, Nigeria, by Barrister, Joseph Nwobike (SAN), it was alleged that the plaintiffs by reason of banker/customer relationship granted N210 million and $34,130,000 facilities to IBG Investment Company.
The loans were to be utilised in the management and implementation of the production lines of the company which the $30 million import facilities would be used to set up.
There was also mutual understanding betweenÂ the parties that the repayment of these facilities would be sourced from the sale of the products that would be generated from the production lines which would be established here in Nigeria.
The plaintiffs averred that contrary to the term of the banking facilities, the bank failed and refused to fully disburse to the plaintiffs the value of the loan as contained in the bankâ€™s letter, thereby breaching the loan agreement.
Consequently, the penalty arose directly from the bankâ€™s failure to disburse the funds adversely affected the companyâ€™s operations. The defendants still have in its custody 200,083 bags of rice of the plaintiffs valued at about N1.5 billion.
The plaintiffs further averred that when it reviewed its account with Afribank sometime in February this year, it discovered that their lodgment, totaling N768,360,544 were not credited into their accounts.
The plaintiffs demanded for the correction of the anomaly in its account, but the bank refused and continued to compute negative interest and other charges into the plaintiffs’ bank account.
Instead of refunding the N768,360,544 and disburse the remaining portions of the value of the $30 million, Afribank allegedly concluded arrangement to wind-up, call in the personal guarantee of Mr. Ibeto and sent petition to Economic and Financial Commission, EFCC.
The plaintiffs contended that they are not indebted to Afribank in the sum of N11,49,957,655.90 as alleged and for the breach of agreement between them and that of the judiciary duties owed the plaintiffs by the bank, they have suffered collateral losses which now stands at about N15 billion.
Consequently, the plaintiffs urged the court to declare that Afribank failed to exercise due care and thereby breached the judiciary duties owed it by the mismanagement and unlawfully manipulation of credits and debits into the plaintiffs account.
The plaintiffs also prayed the court to restrain the bank and its agents from selling or dealing with his properties situated at Osan Crescent, Maitama District, FCT, Abuja and order the bank to pay the plaintiffs N15 billion for the general damages caused by its several breaches ofÂ agreement between them.
Therefore, Justice Okon Abang has restrained the defendants, their agents or their solicitors from selling, transferring or dealing whatsoever with the plaintiffs properties in Abuja pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Justice Abank also restrained the defendants from selling or dealing whatsoever with the plaintiffs consignment of 200,083 bags of rice in their possession
He has adjourned the case till September 29, for the hearing of pending motions.