Court pledges speedy hearing in suit challenging sale of company assets by Nigerian banks

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The Federal High Court in Abeokuta, Ogun State, says it will give a speedy hearing to a suit challenging the sale and transfer of assets of Nigerian German Chemicals Plc (NGC PLC) by a consortium of banks.

The suit was filed by Okhueleigbe Aikpehae of Abraham, Thompsons & Co chambers on behalf of Atlantic Coast Regional Fund (ACRF).

According to court papers seen by Premium Times, the judge, Ibrahim Watila, made the pledge on Friday as he advised the parties to prepare their processes and responses to the various preliminary objections before the next sitting.

ACRF had sued the banks over the sale and transfer of assets of NGC PLC while the substantive suit in their dispute was still pending in court.

The respondents include First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Trustees Limited, Nigerian German Chemical (in receivership), Bolu Agbaje Akadiri (receiver/manager of NGC Plc), First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and Union Bank Plc.

The applicant said its assets were transferred to Syngen Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Uhuru Capital Ltd, Capital Alliance Nigeria Ltd, and Brand Ocean Ltd in contempt of court.

Hearing in the contempt application, however, could not start due to preliminary objections filed by counsel to the respondents, some of whom served the lawyer to the applicant on the eve of the sitting.

After the counsel to the applicant, Okhueleigbe Aikpehae, served the respondents his responses shortly before the sitting commenced, their lawyers sought for time to study the responses.

Justice Watila said the application would be given priority in the order of hearing of the cases.

In the affidavit in support of originating summons, ACRF said sometime in 2014, NGC Plc requested for funding to meet its working capital requirements and extinguish certain existing liabilities.

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It said it then, under an Investment Agreement, agreed to invest up to $14 million in NGC Plc by providing a bridge facility and subscribing for up to N670,833,333 ordinary shares representing 43 per cent of the authorized share capital of the company after its Private Placement.

It said the authorised share capital of NGC PLC at this time was 200,000,000 made up of 400,000,000 ordinary shares of 50k each while the issued share capital was 153,786,012 ordinary shares of 50k each.

Under the investment agreement, ACRF said its investment of $14 million would be in two tranches; the Loan and the Private Placement. “And in furtherance of this agreement, the sum of $6.5 million was invested by the ACRF in the NGC PLC, which said sum was for the charged ownership of 76,837,229 fully paid up ordinary shares representing 49.96 per cent of the issued and paid-up share capital of the NGC PLC,” the plaintiff stated.

Meanwhile, the judge has adjourned the hearing of all the cases to July 17.



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