Ecobank Nigeria Plc is seeking the permission of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to sell a property belonging to Obat Oil and Petroleum Limited. This is to offset a N5 billion debt that the firm owes the bank.
The backstory: Ecobank filed that Obat Oil had entered into an agreement with it that the N5 billion debt was to be realised from the sale of the Abuja hotel called Febson Hotels & Malls.
According to the bank, the order of the sale of the hotel was a consent judgement of the High Court of Lagos State, given on March 15, 2017. The consent judgement was then registered before the FCT High Court on February 7, 2019, so as to ensure the enforcement of the judgement.
The bone of contention: However, the bank, through its lead counsel, Mr. Kunle Ogunba (SAN), noted that Obat Oil had prevented the sale by deliberately asking potential buyers unrealistic amounts for the sale of the property. This is despite the consent judgment and the registration of the judgment in court.
The bank’s application read, “That since March 15, 2017, when the consent judgment was entered, wherein the parties agreed to sell the said property towards repaying the judgment debt, the judgment debtor has remained in exclusive control/possession of the property, the debtor has continued to collect rents and various revenues being generated on the property.
“That due to the benefits it is reaping from the said property, the judgment debtor has refused and/or shown any serious interest in the sale of the property, contrary to the agreement of the parties as contained in the consent judgment.
“That the property, known as Febson Hotels & Malls, at Plot 2425, Herbert Macaulay Way, Abuja, belongs to the judgment debtor, prompting the agreement of the parties to sell the said property towards liquidating the judgment sum.”
Obat Oil’s response: Through its counsel, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, Obat Oil filed that the bank had assigned its rights and interest in the N5 billion judgment debt to the company, ETI Specialised Finance Limited.
As a result of this, Obat Oil said the bank had no rights to seek for the enforcement of the judgement. However, Ecobank insisted that both ETI Specialised Finance Company and Ecobank were one and the same.
Justice Babangida of the High Court went on to adjourn the case till November 18, stating that he would give a consolidated ruling on all the issues of law counsel may eventually raise.