17th March, 2011
Sterling Bank Plc has commenced a committal to prison proceeding against four directors of a limited liability company, Pokat Nigeria Limited, for allegedly disobeying the order of a Federal High Court, detaining a vessel, MV Pokatfinn-1, pending the provision of a first class bank guarantee to the plaintiff to secure its claim of N454,323,266.50.
The affected directors in the pending suit before a Federal High Court in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, are Tokunbo Akinsola, Akin Olowookere, Apostle Hayford Alile and Mrs. Kikelomo Akinsola.
The committal to prison proceeding was a fall out of debt recovery suit instituted by Sterling Bank Plc, against Pokat Nigeria Limited and four of its directors.
The bank alleged in its claim that by the offer letter dated 12 April, 2006, it granted two credit facilities to Pokat in the following terms: vessel lease facility in the sum of N218,400,000 for the purpose of acquiring 8,000 MT oil tanker vessel; MT Pokatfinn-1 for freight operation and another overdraft of N25 million to finance the working capital and purchase of petroleum products for resale.
The loan facilities were secured with the following: legal mortgage on Tokunbo Akinsolaâ€™s landed property at 91, Igando Road, Ikotun; legal mortgage on the landed property located at Plot 51, Ubiaja Crescent, off Ladoke Akintola Boulevard, Garki II, Abuja, covered by certificate of occupancy in the name of Enock Jacob; statutory charge on oil tanker vessel MT Pokatfinn-1 and personal guarantee of Mr. Tokunbo Akinsola, supported with his statement of networth.
The facility was alleged to have fully disbursed to the company as it was accepted and ratified by the boardâ€™s resolution of the company. The original title documents of all the properties used in securing the credit facility were deposited with the bank but the defendant allegedly acted contrary to the terms of the facility as the bank later discovered that all representations made by the defendants as to the exact purpose of the credit facility were false.
The defendants diverted the proceeds of the sale of the petroleum products for their personal use and equally diverted the proceeds of the freight income to their personal use instead of liquidating their indebtedness to the bank.
The facility has since expired and overdue for payment but the defendants have failed and refused to repay the facility despite several letters of demand, while the indebtedness to the bank now stands, as at September 2009, at N454,323,266.50.
The bankâ€™s claim against the defendants jointly and severally are as follows: an order of foreclosure of the properties of Mr. Tokunbo Akinsola situated at 91, Igando Road, Ikotun and the one situated at Plot 51, Ubiaja Crescent, off Ladoke Akintola Boulevard, Garki II, Abuja as well as oil tanker vessel MT Pokatfinn-1, all in respect of which legal mortgage in favour of the bank was created to secure the credit facility granted to Pokat Nigeria Limited; an order granting leave to the bank to sell the said properties of Mr. Tokunbo Akinsola and the oil tanker vessel; judgment in the sum of N454,323,266.50 and damages in the sum of N5 million.