N4.1bn fraud: Ecobank drags Otudeko to court over debt repayment

N4.1bn fraud: Ecobank drags Otudeko to court over debt repayment

The Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned further proceedings until July 4 in the bankruptcy suit filed by Ecobank Nigeria Limited to recover an a

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The Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned further proceedings until July 4 in the bankruptcy suit filed by Ecobank Nigeria Limited to recover an alleged debt of N4.1bn from the Chairman of Honeywell Group, Dr Obafoluke Otudeko.

The case was adjourned on Tuesday at the instance of the court based on heavy workload.

However, Ecobank’s counsel, Kunle Ogunba, SAN, expressed reservation on the adjournment, saying July 4 was too long in view of certain developments which made urgent hearing of the case necessary.

He said Ecobank had filed an affidavit for the record, exhibiting a notice of discontinuance of its appeal and the January 27, 2023 judgment of the Supreme Court, affirming the indebtedness of Otudeko’s firms to Ecobank.

But Justice Akintayo Aluko noted that since counsel representing Otudeko had already been notified of the July 4 date, it would not be fair to change the same.

The court consequently directed Ogunba to author a correspondence for abridgment of time for hearing of the bankruptcy action and to copy Otudeko’s counsel.

In the suit, Ecobank claimed that Otudeko was indebted to it following the alleged failure of its three firms – Honeywell Flour Mills Plc; Siloam Global Services Limited; and Anchorage Leisures Limited – to liquidate a loan granted them by the bank.

The bank said Otudeko personally guaranteed the loan obtained by its firms.

The Supreme Court on January 27 affirmed that Otudeko’s firms were indebted to Ecobank and that they were duty-bound to repay all the facilities availed by the bank, in line with the contract of the parties.

Ecobank, in the bankruptcy suit, is seeking “a receiving order against  estate, funds, investment, shares or other interest of the debtor principally in Siloam Global Services Limited and in Honeywell Group Limited; Honeywell Flour Mills Plc; Anchorage Leisures Limited; Honeywell Oil and Gas Limited; Uraja Real Estate Limited; Broadview Engineering Limited; Uraja Power Solutions Limited; Honeywell Energy Resources Limited; Hudson Power Limited; Pivot Engineering Limited and Pavilion Technology Limited, which interest is held either directly or through the said Siloam Global Services Limited and/or in any other company within and outside Nigeria.”

The bank also prayed the court to grant it leave to “appropriate or otherwise utilise the investments, shares or other interests of the debtor (Otudeko) in all the companies listed above and in any other company/corporate entity in Nigeria or outside Nigeria in partial or full satisfaction of the debt due.”

Ecobank prayed the court to command the businessman to immediately avail the bank his statement of affairs, statement of net worth and other credible financial details requisite and in furtherance to the Bankruptcy Act.