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Business News

Wema Bank’s MD, others, face contempt charges as rift with Heritage Bank intensifies 

Wema Bank’s Managing Director and five other top officials of the bank are at risk of being slammed with committal orders for court disobedience.

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Wema Bank's 2019 half year financial results, Wema Bank Plc announces notice of board meeting, closed period

Wema Bank’s Managing Director, Ademola Adebise, and five other top officials of the bank are at risk of being slammed with committal orders for court disobedience, except they did obey Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke’s order which required them to appear in court today.

The Federal High Court Judge gave the order last week, demanding the defendants’ presence at court on Monday. This is in relation to a contempt suit that was earlier filed against them by the management of Heritage Bank Plc.

Heritage Bank Plc had also filed similar garnishee suits against the Ondo State Government and the state’s Attorney-General, as well as a separate suit against Idanre Local Government Universal Basic Education Authority in Ondo State.

Here’s what had happenedNairametrics understands that Heritage Bank some time ago won a court case against the Ondo State Government and the state’s Attorney General. This was to the tune of N1 billion.  The state paid the sum of N600 million to the bank, remaining N400 million. 

In the same veinHeritage Bank also obtained a court win against Idanre Local Government Universal Education Authority to the tune of N405.4 million. 

[READ: Wema Bank to float N20 billion bond]

At this pointWema Bank, with whom the Ondo State Government had an account, deposed an affidavit saying that the Ondo State Government had up to N745 million in its account. The court later required Wema Bank to pay the money to Heritage Bank, according to reporting by The Nation. 

Meanwhile, the affidavit, which was deposed by Wema Bankhad been attached to an order of nisi that Heritage Bank had obtained in an effort to ensure that both parties (I.e. the Ondo Government and Heritage Bank) comply with the court order.  

Sigma Pensions

Note that an order of nisi is a court order that comeinto force at a future dateparticularly when a condition is not met. In other words, an order of nisi works in such a way that if a condition in a ruling is unmet, the ruling becomes a decree absolute and binding. In the case of Wema Bank, there was a principle judgment sum of N134 million which was meant to become absolute if the bank failed to remit the money in its custody to Heritage Bank. 

[READ: Heritage Bank launches its own digital bank, Octopus]

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By December 2019the order of nisi against Wema bank became absolute after the bank failed to remit the money. According to Heritage Bank, Wema Bank failed to remit the money despite repeated demands by its attorney.  

Wema Bank records 54.54% profit increase as at Q3 2019   

Wema Bank tried to explainsaying that it could not comply with the court injunction because there was a notice of appeal and motion of stay of execution which had been filed by the Ondo State Government at the court of appeal. 

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[READ: $9.6 billion judgement: UK Court grants Nigeria stay of execution, requests $200 million payment]

Apparently, this explanation fell on deaf ears because Heritage Bank made the court’s Registrar issue Form 48 to Heritage Bank. The form served the purpose of notifying Wema Bank of the consequence of its disobedience of court – which is that it will become liable to pay the sum of N134 million. 

Interestingly, this order was still not obeyed by Wema Bank, thereby resulting in a further issuance of Form 49, which demanded that Wema Bank’s top executives should appear in court and defend contempt charges brought against them or risk going to prison. In the meantime, counsel to Wema Bank had filed a petition seeking a stay of execution pending an appeal. 

On February 14th, the Justice ruled that Wema Bank’s MD, the company’s Chairman, Babatunde Kasali, and the Deputy Managing Director, Moruf Oseni must appear in court or risking jail terms. Others who were expected to appear before the Justice are Wole Akinleye, Folake Sanu, and JohnsoLebile who hold Executive Director and Company Secretary positions at the company.  

It is unclear at the point of filing this report whether these individuals did comply by appearing in court today or not.  

[READ: AMCON to recover over N5 trillion debt with judicial intervention]

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Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs.He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor.Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan.If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Macro-Economic News

BREAKING: Nigeria’s inflation rate surges to 18.17% in March 2021

Nigeria’s inflation rate for the month of March 2020, rose to 18.17% from 17.33% recorded in February 2021.

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Nigeria’s inflation rate for the month of March 2020, rose to 18.17% from 17.33% recorded in February 2021.

This is according to the Consumer Price Index report, recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Food inflation spikes to 22.95% from 21.79% recorded in the previous month, while core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce rose to 12.67% from 12.38% recorded in February 2021.

 

More details shortly…

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Business News

BUA Group, French company announce progress in 200,000 bpd refinery project

This is coming about 6 months after both firms signed an agreement for the supply of process technologies and the design of the facility.

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The BUA Group and Axens, a French-based petroleum technology company, have both signed a progress acknowledgement statement for the proposed BUA multi-billion-dollar integrated 200,000 barrels per day refinery in Akwa Ibom State.

This is coming about 6 months after both firms signed an agreement for the supply of process technologies and the design of the facility.

BUA, while making the disclosure in a statement on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, said that the French President, Emmanuel Macron, commended its Chairman, Abdul Samad Rabiu, for his commitment to developing lasting relationships between French and Nigerian businesses.

READ: What the $1.5 billion Port Harcourt refinery deal means to us – Maire Tecnimont

The statement said that this came as the French Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, Franck Riester, paid a visit to the BUA Group Headquarters in Lagos where he handed over a personal invitation from Macron to Rabiu to attend the Choose France Summit in June in Paris representing business leaders from Nigeria and Africa.

The French minister also witnessed the signing of a progress acknowledgement statement between BUA Group and Axens of France for the proposed refinery project, according to the statement.

The statement also said that during the visit, it was announced that the BUA chairman had been appointed Chairman of the France Nigeria Investment Club.

READ: FG reacts to reports of revoking 32 refinery licenses

Sigma Pensions

While thanking the minister and Macron for their unwavering support in bringing BUA and French businesses together, Rabiu said BUA had so far initiated partnerships and had developed personal relationships with a few French businesses, including Axens.

He expressed confidence in the quality of expertise and technical know-how of the French companies BUA had partnered with.

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Rabiu pointed out that the BUA refinery would reduce the huge cost of transporting Nigerian crude offshore, refining it and bringing it back into the country when fully operational.

READ: Abdulsamad Rabiu’s stake in BUA Cement has increased by N1.2 trillion in value since listing in 2020

He said that the choice of Akwa Ibom for the refinery was due to the huge availability of raw materials and its proximity to export petroleum products to regional countries.

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The President of Axens, Jean Sentenac, in his statement, said he was pleased that the project was advancing on schedule and expressed delight for the very good cooperation between all the involved parties, reiterating the commitment of Axens in delivering the BUA Refinery Project on time and with the highest standards.

READ: FG to open LPG distribution channels in all local governments

Bottom line

The completion and take-off of the refinery owned by the BUA Group would come as a huge boost for the Federal Government’s effort to stop the importation of refined petroleum products, ensuring that the country becomes a net exporter of these products.

This will also help to conserve the scarce foreign exchange as the completion and take-off of the Dangote refinery and other similar refinery projects will help ensure self-sufficiency in the country.

The BUA Group, just a few days ago, was listed as one of the companies with an active refinery license from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

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