Court adjourns bank’s N212m debt suit

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The Federal High Court in Lagos will on June 25 hear a suit by Diamond Bank Plc against Eko Akete Engineering and Construction Company Ltd.

Justice Chuka Obiozor adjourned due to time constraints after the plaintiff’s counsel Ifeoma Odide informed him that the bank was ready for trial.

The bank’s Ajah Branch Manager Stella Ekhator was present when the case came up, but the defendants were not represented.

Diamond Bank is claiming N212, 052,898.22 from Eko Akete Engineering and its Managing Director Chief Fouad Ade Oki as at March 31, 2016.

The bank said the sum represents principal and accrued interest arising from various facilities granted the firm and guaranteed by Oki.

Diamond Bank is also claiming compound interest at 22.19 per annum on the sum from March 31, 2016 until judgment and thereafter at the rate of 15 per cent per annum until final liquidation of the judgment sum.

The plaintiff is praying for an order permitting it to retain ownership and control of the defendants’ fixed and floating assets “until the final liquidation of the requested sum with interest or until the charged property and assets are sold”.

The bank said it approved the defendants’ request for a term loan facility of N75million for the purchase of heavy duty equipment and to fund the construction of Suleimon Soderu bypass in Ikorodu area of Lagos, at an agreed 21 per cent interest.

The plaintiff said it later granted two other loan facilities of N36million and N55.5million to the defendants, adding that the defendants utilised the facilities, but refused to fund its account.

Diamond Bank said the firm requested for extension of the loan facilities totaling N96, 124,118.90 to enable it meet its increasing obligations and liquidate the indebtedness, which was granted.

The bank said despite granting an extension of the outstanding loan facilities and not charging a late penalty fee of one per cent, the firm “still failed, refused and neglected to settle its outstanding indebtedness to the plaintiff.”

The plaintiff said it wrote the firm on February 27, 2015 demanding full payment of the total outstanding sum of N160.4million, yet the first defendant “still failed, refused and neglected” to pay the debt.

The bank said a law firm, Jurislaw, which it engaged to recover the debt, also wrote to the firm on June 1, 2015 and to Oki on October 7, 2015, yet they allegedly refused to liquidate the debt.
“As at March 31, 2016, the first defendant’s outstanding debt on the loan facilities plus accrued interest was N212, 051,898.22,” the bank said.

Trial has commenced in the case, but the defendants are yet to file their responses.

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