Steel Firm Sued Over N16.5bn Debt

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In a bid to recover an alleged huge debt of N16.5 billion, a consortium of four banks, through their Trustee, United Capital Trustees Limited, and their Receiver/Manager Gbenga Akinde -Peters, have dragged a limited liability Company, Metal Africa Steel Products Limited, before a Federal High Court, Lagos.

The Trustees, in an affidavit sworn to by a litigation officer, Mr Segun Omoshola and filed before the court by their lawyer,Temilolu Adamolekun, the deponent averred that Metal Africa Steel Product Limited has a bank/Customer relationship with, Ecobank Nigeria Limited, Access Bank Plc, First Monument Bank Plc (FCMB) and Guaranty Trust bank Plc (GTB), who are jointly referred to as lenders.

The deponent stated that in the course of the Company’s relationship with the banks (lenders), the company was availed several facilities by the banks between November 2012 and June 2015, and the facilities were drawn down and utilized by the company.

The deponent stated also that iIn order to secure the various loan facilities, the lenders and the company agreed to the creation of a charge over the assets of the company by way of a Trust Deed to secure the credit facilities granted by all the lenders together with interest thereon. And in pursuant to the above agreement the lenders appointed United Capital Trustees Limited as the Trustee to act on their behalf in respect of their interest in the Security/charge securing their respective exposures to the company.

Furthermore, the deponent stated that for the various loan facilities granted to the Company by all the lenders, the defendant executed a duly registered deed of all assets Debenture in favour of United Capital Trustees Limited.

However, the Company was alleged to have failed to liquidate the facilities which have continued to accrue interest.

The company’s indebtedness to the lenders stood as follows: Access Bank: N9,278,404,445 billion, Ecobank: N6,257,203,229.21billion, FCMB:N441,700,000.million and GTB Plc: N618,004,854.73 million.

Consequently, the outstanding indebtedness of the company to all the lenders as January 31, 2017, stood at a total sum of N 16, 595, 312, 528.94 billion.

Omosohola averred further that despite the lenders several letters of demand, the Steel Company has failed to liquidate its indebtedness which has adversely affected the lenders business, who are custodian of third parties/Stakeholders funds. And pursuant to the Deed of All Assets Debenture, the Plaintiff appointed Mr Gbenga Akinde-Peters as its Receiver/Manager.

Upon the appointment of the Receiver/Manager, Mr Akinde -Peters is statutorily empowered by law to take charge and remain in exclusive possession and control of the property and assets of the company in respect of which he was appointed as a Receiver.

Consequently the company and its Director may likely obstruct, hinder and interfere with the powers vested in the Receiver /Manager as contain in the deed of all Assets Debenture.

Therefore the plaintiffs is urging the court to declare that the receiver/ manager appointed by United Capital Trustees, Mr Gbenga Akinde -Peters over the assets of the company, particularly but not limited to all the assets of the company at km 16 Ikorodu -Sagamu Road, Ewe Jagun, Ogun -State, is entitled to exercise all his power and perform all his duties as receiver/manager.

The plaintiff is also urging the court to declare that upon the appointment of Gbenga Akinde-Peters as its receiver, the Steel Company and its Director or its agents and privies have no right, power or authority to deal in any manner whatsoever with the assets of the company.

In its response, the Steel Company in a notice of Preliminary objection filed before the court, by its lawyer, Niyi Olopade, is urging the court to dismiss the suit on the ground that, the leave of the court was not sought and obtained before filling the suit

However, the presiding Judge, Justice Babs kuewumi has adjourned till September 28, 2017, for hearing of the suit.

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