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Court Unfreezes Ex-Naval Officer Accounts

A Federal High Court sitting in Akure has unfrozen bank accounts of a retired naval officer, Alhaji Maliki Sabo Usman.

The accounts of Alhaji Usman were ordered frozen by the court in an exparte order it granted Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and the Heritage bank in February 2021.0It had also ordered that all moveable and immovable properties of Alhaji Usman be seized over alleged unpaid N215m debt.

In its ruling on a motion on notice filed by Alhaji Usman, the court presided over by Justice A.A Demi-Ajayi, set aside the exparte order granted in February last for misrepresentation of facts, fraud and lack of jurisdiction. It said the execution of the exparte order was null and void and of no effect adding that the substantive suit was premature. Justice Demi-Ajayi awarded a cost of N200, 000 against AMCON and the Heritage bank.

He held that the filing of an exparte motion without the knowledge of the Defendants/Applicants was an abuse of court processes.

He said, “The court is of the humble view that the action of the Claimants/Respondents is premature as they ought to have waited for the outcome of the Supreme Court matter which is still pending before taking the next step.”

Speaking after the court’s ruling, Alhaji Usman narrated how his booming multi-million naira wood business was wrecked by actions of Nigeria banks.

He said trouble started for him in 2002 when defunct Omega bank secured court order to disrupt operations of his firm by seizing the machinery over N16.3m. Alhaji Usman stated that investigation revealed that it was the bank that owed him N27m.

He said, “This is a victory for the fact that we were not owing these people but they defrauded us. Since 2002, when Omega bank secured an exparte order order to disrupt our operations, the factory has not been functioning. A company that has over 100 workers was forced to close down. They claimed we owed us N16.3m. But it was later discovered that they rather owed is N27m. Trans-international bank defrauded us to the tune of N311m.

“We process wood for export and money is paid to their account in dollars abroad. Within 24 hours we will get payment confirmation but they will claim no money has been paid to them. This is how they crippled our business, because they have money they went to court to secure an exparte order.

When we looked into the account they took N311m. We went to court and court ordered them to pay us N293m. The appeal court upheld the judgment of the lower court. When we tried to enforce partial execution of the judgment here in Akure, we could only recover N4.7m. From there we went to Supreme Court. They didn’t wait for Supreme Court to deliver judgment, AMCON and heritage bank teamed up and floated five different accounts claiming that we owed them N215m. They obtained exparte motion from the Federal High Court Akure. We got to know on the day judgment was to be delivered. My lawyers rallied and judgment was delivered in our favour. Before that, they sealed up all my properties. My family and I were inside the house when they came with armed 17 policemen. They sealed the house while we were inside on July 16th. The case has been pending at the Supreme Court. We are waiting for the judgment but my business has been crippled.

“We have been crippled. They held our money since then. We don’t have money to start off. The factory is lying fallow. The bank denied us our capital since then. If you calculate the interest, the money we are expecting should be in the range of N900m. If we got positive judgment, the factory will return back to life. We are waiting for God to deliver us from the hands of the banks.”

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