14th June, 2012
A Federal High court sitting in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, has adjourned till 9 October this year, an eight-year-old debt recovery suit filed by Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, against a limited liability company, Ojuabere Holdings Nigeria Limited.
Joined as co-defendant is pre shipment inspection services company, SGS Inspection Services Nigeria Limited.
In a statement of claim field before the court on behalf of NDIC by a Lagos lawyer, Barrister Oladele Jegede, it was alleged that sometime in May, 1989, Ojuabere Holdings Company applied to ICON Merchant Bankers for a revolving loan of N1.5 million to purchase agricultural products for export trade. The company was granted the loan.
In pursuance of the agreement for granting the loan, the bank was to establish escrow accounts in banks to be designated by the company, where the company was to withdraw the money. Subsequently, the accounts were opened in four different banks.
Also in pursuance of the loan agreement, the bank and the company entered into a tripartite agreement whereby SGS Inspection Services Company undertook to protect the interest of the bank.
The plaintiff averred that on the 31 May, 1989, Golden Compass Investment Company accompanied by the agent of SGS Inspection Services introduced the said Golden Compass Company as the seller of 63 metric tones of coffee to Ojuabere Company and as at the time of the sale, the said 63 metric tones had already been graded and stacked properly in the SGS Inspection Services warehouse at Akure, each bag bearing the official mark of the produce inspection services and certified by the service as “graded coffee”
However, after the sale when the sum of N1,197,000 had been paid for the coffee, it was discovered that the said coffee had been badly adulterated with rubbish, thereby reducing the quantity of the coffee available for export from 63 metric tones to 53 metric tones.
The plaintiff made several demands for the repayment of the loan from Ojuabere company when the repayment was due, but only N250,000 was paid.
Consequently, the plaintiff claims against Ojuabere Holdings Company and SGS jointly and severally is for the sum of N14,552,193.12 as follows:
Against the first defendant, the payment of loan N1,197,000 at an interest rate of 18.5% per annum and against the SGS Inspection Services damages for tort of negligence, breach of the second defendants duty under the tripartite agreement.