24th February, 2011
In a bid to recover a debt of N61 million, Sterling Bank Plc has dragged a Lagos businesswoman, Alhaja Monsurat Ajoke Odulana, trading under the name and style of Joke Odulana Nigeria Enterprises, before a Federal High Court in Lagos, South-West Nigeria.
According to an amended statement of claim filed before the court, the bank alleged that Alhaja Ajoke Odulana, who is a customer of the bank, by letter dated 26 June, 2008, requested for a project loan in the sum of N51,500,000 to finance the completion of her building situated at Plot 17, Block F, Ajayi Bembe Road, off Onikoyi Road, Park View, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Consequently, by letter dated 4 September, 2008, the bank offered her a term loan credit facility of N49 million, merged with an existing overdraft of N15 million already availed her by the bank, bringing the total to N64 million.
It was agreed by the parties, pursuant to the repayment clause of the offer letter, that the repayment would be from cash generated from her business operations and rents from the property at the completion of which the facility was granted.
However, the defendant persistently defaulted in the repayment of the facility despite various demands by the bank.
Alhaja Ajoke was also alleged to have, at various times, assured the bank that her entire indebtedness to the bank would be liquidated once the building is let out to tenants and rents generated from it is paid into her account with the bank in line with the agreement between the parties.
However, the plaintiff alleged further that upon completion of the two-wing duplex, the defendant vacated her owned former residence at Surulere and rented it out for N1.5 million per annum and moved into one of the two duplexes comprising the building and let the other wing to a tenant for a two-year advance rent income of N39,800,000 and diverted the proceeds to her newly opened account at the Dolphin PlazaÂ branch of the United Bank of Africa Plc so as to avoid the repayment of her loan.
Consequently, the claim of the bank against the defendant is in the sum of N47,003,409.55 being the debt balance on loan account and N14,163,709.31 on her current account respectively in the name of Mrs. Odulana Monsurat Ajoke as at the 30 April, 2010 as well as interest thereon at the rate of 20 per cent per annum from 1 May, 2010 until actual liquidation.
It also sought an order that UBA pays over to Sterling Bank N39,800,000 that is in the account of the defendant being the rent income for the occupation of one wing of the property as well as an order for the sale of the property situated at Block F, Plot 17, Ikoyi Foreshore Private Residential Estate Layout, otherwise known and referred to as Park View Federal Estate covered by the deed of assignment towards the satisfaction of the defendantâ€™s total indebtedness to the bank.