A Federal High Court, Lagos, has restrained Senator Stella Oduah and Sea Petroleum and Gas Company Limited and its directors from making any withdrawal whatsoever from the account of the company.
The restriction order also involves three other limited liability companies, namely Sea Shipping Agency Limited, Rotary Engineering Services Limited and Tour Afrique Company Limited.
The accounts of those firms are domiciled in 21 commercial banks listed before the court. The order followed an alleged indebtedness of $16,412,819.06 and N100,493,225.59 to Sterling Bank.
The court also granted an order directing the said commercial banks having Oduah and the four companies’ assets to sequestrate the said indebtedness and keep same 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 was sequel to an affidavit sworn to by Business Manager, Sterling Bank Plc., Mr. Segun Akinsanya, filed and argued before the court by Kemi Balogun (SAN).
Akinsanya, in the affidavit, averred that on October 8, 2012, the bank granted a lease/cabotage vessel finance facility to Sea Petroleum and Gas Company in the sum of $10,069,620.25 to finance one unit 5,000MT tanker vessel.
“The loan was secured by unconditional personal guarantee of the companies’ director, Oduah, and supported by statement of her networth, legal mortgage of two property worth N135 million and power of attorney of the tanker vessel in favour of Sterling Bank.
“There was also a fully executed irrevocable standing payment order and tripartite remittance agreement between First Bank Plc, Sterling Bank and Stella Oduah,” Akinsanya swore.
He further averred that Sea Petroleum and Gas Company requested for and was granted additional facilities in the sum of $449,600 for post-delivery expenses, $642,954 and $350,000 to meet the requisite conditions in securing the release of the tanker from the federal high court.
According to him, upon the persistent failure of the defendants to liquidate their indebtedness, Sterling Bank instructed the law firm of Oluwakemi Balogun to recover the debt.
Meanwhile, Oduah and her companies while urging the court to discharge the order, also filed a preliminary objection urging the court to strike out the suit on the ground that the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain it.
Justice Abdulaziz Anka has adjourned till March 20, 2017 to decide either to vacate the order or not.