Stella Oduah denies indebtedness to banks

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Senator Stella Oduah has described as untrue the allegations of her indebtedness to some commercial banks in Nigeria which has led to a court order freezing her 21 bank accounts.

Stella Oduah
Stella Oduah

Addressing newsmen in the National Assembly on Thursday, the Anambra Senator said, “I resigned from the company since 2010. Sterling got injunction on earlier order. They gave sea shipping facility to buy vessel. They defaulted . But the order elapsed today. The lawyers appealed for set aside. That was what they argued today and order was set aside”.

A Lagos Federal High Court, had on Wednesday, restrained Stella Oduah and Sea Petroleum and Gas Company Limited, from making any withdrawal from 21 accounts domiciled with some banks.

Other companies that will suffer the same fate include, Sea Shipping Agency Ltd, Rotary Engineering Services Ltd, and Tour Afrique Company Ltd.

The court order was hinged on an allegation of indebtedness on the part of the defendants to the tune of $16.4 million and N100.5 million.

The court thereby directed the commercial banks harbouring the assets of Stella Oduah and the four companies to sequestrate their indebtedness as at November 2016 and that the money should be kept in an interest yielding account in the name of the chief Registrar of the Federal court, pending the determination of the suit filed before the court to recover the debt.

The order of the court followed an affidavit by Business Manager of Sterling Bank Plc., Mr Segun Akinsanya, filed and argued before the court by the bank’s Counsel, Mr Kemi Balogun (SAN).

In the affidavit, Akinsanya averred that on Oct. 8th, 2012, the bank granted a leaseCabotage Vessel Finance Facility (CVFF) to Sea Petroleum and Gas Company in the said sums to finance one unit 5,000 MT tanker vessel.

He averred that the loan was secured by an unconditional personal guarantee of the companies’ director, Princess Stella Oduah.

Akinsanya also stated that, same was supported by a statement of her net worth, legal mortgage of two properties worth N135 billion, and a power of Attorney of the tanker vessel in favour of Sterling Bank.

Also in support was a fully executed standing payment order and tripartite remittance agreement between First Bank plc, Sterling Bank and Stella Oduah.

It was further stated that in June 27, 2013, Sea Petroleum Company requested and was granted additional facilities in the sum of about 450,000 dollars for post delivery expenses.

He said that also granted was about 993, 000 dollars to meet the requisite conditions in securing the release of the tanker.

He added that upon the persistent failure of the defendants to liquidate their indebtedness, Sterling Bank instructed its counsels to recover the debt.

He said that in spite of several reminders, and demands, the defendants had failed and refused to liquidate their indebtedness which had culminated to 16.4 million dollars, and about N100.5 million as at November 2016.

Akinsanya also disclosed that the defendants were greatly indebted to a number of banks and had conceded a number of assets to AMCON who had stepped into the shoes of those banks.

He averred that there was imminent risk of the defendants dissipating the assets of the companies.

The plaintiff urged the court to grant the order restraining Stella Oduah and other directors of the companies from withdrawing money from the account of the companies domiciled with 21 banks pending the determination of the debt recovery suit.

Meanwhile, based on ex-parte application filed and argued before the court by Mr Kemi Balogun, SAN that it has been difficult to serve court processes and order on the defendants, the presiding judge, Justice Abdulaziz Anka has ordered that court process should be advertised in newspapers.

However, Stella Oduah and her companies urged the court to discharge the order made against them.

They filed preliminary objection to the suit, urging the court to strike out the suit but were met with stiff resistance from Mr Kemi Balogun SAN who opposed the applications.

Justice Anka, thereby, adjourned till 20th March, 2017 to decide whether to vacate the order or not.


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