Justice Ayotunde Faji of the Federal High Court, Lagos has entered judgement in favour of Sterling Bank Plc jointly and severally against the former Minister of Aviation, Senator Stella Oduah and her company, Sea Petroleum and Gas (SPG) Limited in the sum of $16.5 million and N100. 4 million respectively.
The sum being the outstanding debt owed by the SPG and duly guaranteed by Oduah as at November 2016 to the bank with accrued interest.
The court in its judgement while granting six reliefs out of the 14 sought by the bank, issued order of attachment in favour of the bank against such entire assets of SPG such as cash in bank, bond, deposit, real estate, stocks, all forms of negotiable instruments in all stock broking firms, discount houses, mortgage institutions, financial houses, and microfinance houses.
Other properties attached include: all licensed banks within Nigeria having SPG as beneficial owner of such funds to the full extent of the unsatisfied portion of the sum of $16, 412,819.06 and N100,493,225.59 respectively as at November 2016 and other accrued interests.
The court also declared that having regard to the clear and unambiguous provisions of the deed of guarantee and indemnity personally executed by Senator Oduah in favour of Sterling Bank over facility advanced to SPG Ltd which has failed upon demands to liquidate same, judgement can be granted against the lawmaker for the unsatisfied portion of the sum owed by SPG to the bank.
The judgement of the court was sequel to a debt recovery suit filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer, Barr. Oluwakemi Balogun (SAN), on behalf of Sterling Bank Plc.
In an affidavit by Business Manager, Maritime of the bank, Segun Akinsanya averred that on October 8, 2012, the bank granted a lease/cabotage vessel finance facility to Oduah’s 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 company director, Senator Oduah, supported by a statement of her net-worth, legal mortgage of two properties worth N135 million, power of attorneys of the tanker vessel in favour of Sterling Bank and fully executed irrevocable standing payment order and tripartite remittance agreement between First Bank plc, Sterling Bank and Stella Oduah.
However, in her counter affidavit, Senator Oduah averred that the vessel purchased with the loan facility was registered in the name of Sterling Bank until she discharges the facility.
She contended that the bank was to appoint technical managers for the vessel to ensure it is in good condition. She explained that the managers appointed by the bank mismanaged the vessel resulting in several losses to her company.
She added that the bank ignored all pleas for the managers to be changed. The company SPG Ltd could therefore not meet up with its financial obligation.