A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted a ‘mareva injunction’ restraining Risqua Mohammed, son of late Head of State, General Murtala Mohammed from withdrawing funds from his accounts in any of the financial institutions in Nigeria.
The presiding Judge Saliu Saidu, while making the order, ruled that Risquat Mohammed and his company, AMG Petroenergy Limited should not tamper with their funds in any financial institution in Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of a debt recovery suit filed against them by Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB).
GTB had filed the suit against the defendants (AMG and Risquat Mohammed) over their refusal to liquidate a multi-million dollars credit facility obtained from the bank despite repeated demands of payment.
While ruling in an ex-parte application filed by GTB’s lawyer, Norrison Quakers (SAN), Justice Saidu restrained the defendants jointly and severally by themselves, directors, agents, servants, privies, trustees, nominees, proxies, subsidiaries, companies, related companies or otherwise any person, natural or artificial, whose so ever called from tampering, withdrawing, drawing down, transferring, dissipating, paying out to or issuing in favour of any person or persons whether natural or artificial either wholly or in part, the sum of N1, 365, 470, 643.46k while interest continues to accrue at the bank’s lending rate standing to the credit of currently deposited in the defendants’ account with any financial institution within Nigeria pending the hearing of motion on notice.
According to an affidavit in support of the suit deposed to by one Tolulope Fadipe, an official of the bank, it was averred that on 18 May 2011, GTB granted two import finance credit facilities in the sum of $40 million to the defendants, with an additional existing term loan of N630 million.
The credit facilities were said to have been for the purpose of financing the establishment of local letters of credit in favour of NLNG, NNPC/PPMC and NGL to fund the payment of Gas/Condensate/Naphtha lifted based on allocation to the company by the Federal Government.
The credit facilities were also used to finance the establishment of letters of credit for the purchase of refined petroleum products from international and local sources for onward supply to Total Plc, Mobil Oil Plc, Exxon Mobil and Total Upstream.
Besides, the facilities were further meant to accommodate associated freight and logistics costs, as well as refinancing the existing debts of the first defendant (AMG Petroenergy Limited).
Risquuat as the Chairman and Managing Director of the first defendant, was said to have personally pledged to pay the credit facilities.
However, trouble started upon the expiration of the tenure of the credit facilities in August 2012 when the defendants failed to meet their obligations of repayment, despite repeated demands.
While justifying the suit, Quakers said it was evident from the actions of the defendants that they were not prepared to liquidate their outstanding debt which now stand at N1.365 billion, while interest continues to accrue at the bank’s lending rate.
“The balance of convenience is on the side of the plaintiff/applicant (GTB) as the defendants’ indebtedness to the plaintiff runs into billions of naira, which have remained due and unpaid despite several demands. As a result of which the plaintiff states that it will suffer greater hardship if the defendants are not restrained in terms of this application, particularly against the backdrop that shareholders and depositors’ funds are involved. The plaintiff cannot allow this flagrant violation of the defendants obligations to continue as it’s depositors and shareholders’ funds are at risk,” Quakers stressed.
The bank had also promised to indemnify the defendants in the unlikely event that the order ought not to have been made.
Meanwhile, after granting the mareva injunction, Justice Saidu fixed 3 November 2014 for hearing of the substantive case.