The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered businessman, Chief Sunny Odogwu, and his two companies: Robert Dyson & Diet Limited, and SIO Properties Limited to pay N26.2 billion to Diamond Bank Plc for failing to repay a loan obtained from the bank eight years ago.
Justice Saliu Saidu also granted leave to Diamond Bank to foreclose and sell ‘Luxury Collection Hotels and Apartments’, formerly Le Meridian Grand Tower, located at 31-35, Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos, belonging to Odogwu.
The plaintiff, (Diamond Bank Plc) had in a suit filed before the court by its lawyer, Oluwakemi Balogun, (SAN), urged the court to compel Odogwu, and his companies to pay N26,229,943,035.22, they obtained from the bank to construct a the above named hotel in Lagos.
Also joined as co-defendants in the debt recovery suit are Corporate Affairs Commission, (CAC), The Registrar of Title, Federal Land Registry, and Leadway Trustees Limited, as fourth, fifth and sixth defendants respectively.
The plaintiff in an affidavit in support of the suit sworn to by Fanen Shambe, the bank’s Relationship Manager, averred that sometimes in 2007, SIO Properties Limited, and Chief Odogwu, on behalf of Robert Dyson & Diket Limited company, approached the bank and required huge finance to be applied and disbursed as at when due for their project called ‘Luxury Collection Hotels and Apartments’, formerly Le Meridian Grand Tower, to be constructed at 31-35, Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos, in the name of SOI Properties Limited of which Chief Sonny Odogwu is the chairman and beneficial majority owner.
The deponent also averred that Chief Odogwu, convened through the SIO Properties Limited to execute third party legal mortgage in favour of Diamond Bank Plc, over the said property as a security for the facility availed them by the bank and that SIO Properties Limited, by a letter and a board resolution affirmed the said covenant to the bank.
Shambe averred further that it was upon a duly executed agreement that the bank granted the Chief Sonny Odogwu and the two companies the loan in form of a bridge finance to the said N26, 229,943,035.22.
He added that he verily believed that the defendants are insolvent, otherwise bankrupt and unable to meet their financial obligation.
Justice Seidu, who had earlier ordered 19 commercial banks in Nigeria not to allow Odogwu and his companies, to withdraw funds from their accounts, in his judgement held that the defendants admitted indebtedness and has not show the court how the indebtedness was liquidated.
The court, therefore perpetually restrained the third defendant from disposing, selling or alienating any of his personal assets, money, share, stock and other negotiable instrument until the judgment sum is fully liquidated.
The court also order the CAC and the Registrar of Title, Federal Land Registry to decline or expunge and delete the registration of any security interest, charge, caveat and any other instrument creating a change or an interest in favour of any other person or persons other than the plaintiff in relation to the said property and in relation to any registrable assets of the first defendant with the forth defendant any assets already charged under the extant Trust Deed.
The judge also ordered Leadway Trustees Limited to surrender all the title documents in its custody in relation to the property and other documentation connected and or pertaining to the extant transaction of which the plaintiff is a beneficiary to the bank.
The bank had in its originating summons urged court to enter judgment in the sum jointly or severely against the first to third defendants, being the outstanding sum as at September 30, 2014, advanced by the bank for the defendants.
The bank also asked the court for an order granting leave to it to foreclose and sell the said property situated at 31-35 Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos state and an order directing judicial sale and granting leave to sell the said property, being the security for the sum of N26, 229, 934, 035.22
The bank want the court to also direct Leadway Trustees Limited to surrender all title documents in its custody in relation to the said property.