BY MICHAEL AKINOLA
The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has taken over the assets of Stallion Nigeria Limited and its subsidiaries in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano following an order of the Federal High Court in Lagos, concerning an alleged N156,026,032,804.84 (billion) debt.
The bank’s receiver-manager Romeo Michael and court bailiffs protected by the police on Friday, October 10, in the three cities, executed the interim orders made by Justice Akintayo Aluko on October 20, 2023.
The judge made the order after hearing Temilolu Adamolekun, who appeared with Mohammed Usman, move the motion ex parte as counsel for the plaintiff/applicants, supported by an affidavit in support deposed to by Mr. Anthony Chilaka, in a suit marked FHC/L/CS8/2074/2023.
The order subsists pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
The case was adjourned till November 20, for hearing of the Motion on Notice.
The affected assets include mortgaged property known as “all that piece or parcel of land together with any building thereon” at Plot 371, Trans Amadi Industrial Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“Plot 353, Trans Amadi Industrial Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Plot 370, Trans Amadi Industrial Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers state, KM17, Lagos Badagry Expressway, Lagos State and No. 54, Challawa Industrial Estate, Kano State, Nigeria.”
The order also affects the defendants’ sums totalling N156b in commercial, microfinance and other financial institutions across the country.
The 1st to 4th plaintiff/applicants in the suit are UBA Plc, UBA Cameroon SA, Cote D’Ivoire SA and Romeo Ese Michael.
The 1st to 11th defendants/respondents are Stallion Nigeria Limited (In Receivership), Von Automobile Nigeria Limited, Popular Farms And Mills Limited, Havana Nigeria Limited.
The other defendants are KRBL Food Industries Limited, Qingqi Motorcycle Manufacturing Limited, Stallion Auto Keke Limited, Stallion Motors Limited, The Honda Place Limited, Yokohama Construction Limited and Mr. Sunil Vaswani.
The plaintiff/applicants also listed all the commercial banks in Nigeria and Kuda Microfinance Bank, Moneypoint Microfinance Bank, Piggyvest technology Limited,
Cowrywise Financial Technology Limited, Opay Digital Services, the Federal Ministry Of Defence and Federal Ministry Of Finance as 12th to 44th respondents in a Mareva Order to protect the Res of the suit.
In granting UBA’s prayers, Justice Aluko also restrained the defendants, their directors, shareholders, employees, officers, agents, from interfering with or frustrating the receiver/manager from exercising all the powers vested in him or performing his duties as receiver of the mortgaged properties
The court further granted an interim injunction restraining the defendants or anyone else, from tampering with, remaining in, selling, leasing, or dealing in whatsoever manner with any of the defendants’ assets/mortgaged properties covered by the order.
It also granted a mareva injunction restraining the 1st to 11th defendants or their agents from dealing with any of the monies standing to their credit in all of their accounts or howsoever held with the 12th to 41st respondents up to the tune of the N118.6b or its equivalent in any foreign currency pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
They were also restrained from monies standing to their credit in all of their accounts with the 12th to 41st respondents and also monies standing to its credit in custody of the 1st to 3rd Plaintiffs and their affiliates and subsidiaries in other countries including UBA (Ghana) Limited up to N156b or its equivalent in any foreign currency.
The order also barred the (Federal Ministry of Defence and Federal Ministry of Finance from releasing to the Defendants or any of their Affiliates, any funds belonging or accruing to any of the Defendants, up to N156b.
According to the affidavit deposed to on October 18, 2023 by Chilaka, Group Head, Recovery and Remedial Management Department of the 1st to 3rd plaintiffs companies, UBA in 2014 gave various credit facilities to the first defendant, (Stallion Nigeria Limited).
Both parties agreed that the credit facilities could be used and were used by Stallion’s sister companies i.e. the 2nd to 10th defendants in accordance with the offer letter.
As security for the various loans, the defendants mortgaged its aforementioned assets in Port Harcourt, Lagos and Kano.
Vaswani (the 11th defendant and alter ego of Stallion) also made a personal guarantee, among other securities.
Sometime in 2014, Stallion Motors (8th defendant) was awarded a contract by the Federal Government to supply 700 Ashok Leyland trucks/Stallion troop carrying vehicles and 50 Falcon seater buses to be used by the military.
Stallion Motors financed the contract with funds it secured from UBA through the credit line the bank gave Stallion Nigeria Limited, with the understanding of the parties that the receivables from the Federal Government would be paid into Stallion Account with UBA.
But after delivering the vehicles to the Federal Government, Stallion Motors allegedly directed the government to make the initial payment of $50million into its Dubai account, contrary to the agreement with UBA.
It also allegedly “took steps to surreptitiously” receive another N8.2b into its offshore account.
UBA alleged that despite all the steps it took, Stallion Motors has “continued to divert and dissipate” the monies that should accrue to it from the contract, in breach of the domiciliation agreement.
“Instead of fulfilling their obligations, the 1st and 8th defendants diverted the money/receivables outside Nigeria to places like Dubai, Ghana and other countries to purchase different properties for their own gains,” it alleged, adding that the defendants failed to clear their debts totalling N156b.