N11.79bn Fraud: Judge Warns Banks against Snubbing Court Orders

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Justice Toyin Oyekan-Abdullahi, of the Lagos State High Court sitting at Osborne, Ikoyi yesterday, warned bank executives of the consequences of snubbing court orders. She has therefore, threatened to send to jail any bank CEO who failed to disclose the amount to the credit of Imagine Global Holding Company Limited, Imagine Global Solutions Limited, Mr. Bamise Samson Ajetunmobi and his wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Anuoluwapo Ajetunmobi.

The claimants/applicants are aggrieved Nigerians who invested their funds in Imagine Global and according to their motion, the N11.795 billion is the outstanding investments and return on investments accruing to them from the defendants.

Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi, who gave the warning, noted that some banks are yet to comply with the order of the court made on October 24, 2021 in favour of the investors.

The order restrained commercial banks in Nigeria from releasing funds up to N11,795,090,000 to the two firms and the Ajetunmobi Couple.

The order also directed the banks to, among others, file and serve on the claimants/applicants’ counsel, Adetunji Adedoyin-Adeniyi, within seven days of service of the order on them, an affidavit disclosing the balance on the defendants’ accounts.

The orders followed a Motion on Notice for a Mareva Injunction filed ex parte by the Claimants/Applicants on October 15, 2021 in suit LD/579CM/2021.

At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi expressed displeasure with some of the banks that failed to strictly comply with the Order of Court.

She warned that besides sanctioning any defaulting bank executive, she said any legal practitioner that act contrary to the said order would also be sanctioned.

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She stated that “the court will not allow the citizens of this country to keep weeping because of the absconding investors.”

The court heard that one of those affected by the conduct of the defendants was Wema Bank which allegedly gave loan to Imagine Global in September, 2021, after accepting the defendants’ properties as collateral, as contained in the application filed by Wema Bank seeking to discharge the Order of court as an interested party.

But Adedoyin-Adeniyi opposed the application on the ground that Wema Bank is equally a victim as much as the claimants, by virtue of the personal guarantees the defendants executed in favour of the claimants as far back as January, 2020.

Also, the firm of Babalakin & Co equally filed and application on behalf of a firm known as Mainstreet Capital Limited, which also invested in the defendants, as contained in an application filed through the law firm seeking to join as co-claimant in the suit.

Adedoyin-Adeniyi also opposed the application, arguing that many organisations which lacked courage to go after the couple due to the sensitive nature of the matter, now wanted to piggyback on the claimants who had approached the court for Mareva orders.He argued that the claimants should not be compelled to allow other parties to join the case, rather, anyone with grievances against the couple “should file his own case.”

Adedoyin-Adeniyi equally alleged that N17 billion had passed through Imagine Global’s account with Wema Bank between May 2020 and May, 2021 and the Bank is yet to place before the court the detailed statement of account of Imagine Global Ltd.

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Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi has adjourned till November 11, 2021 for the banks to show cause in compliance with the order of court.

Part of the court’s orders includes barring the four defendants from accessing funds up to N11,795,090,000 in their accounts with the banks, pending the hearing and determination of a Motion on Notice for a Mareva Injunction.

The court also barred the banks – in the interim – from dealing with all monies and/or whatsoever assets due to the defendants from any account maintained by the 1st – 4th defendants and also all accounts with BVN: 22168443525 (3rd Defendant) and BVN:22141952749 (4th Defendant), up to the N11,795,090,000

It further restrained the defendants from selling, transferring, assigning and/or dealing with the following properties: Apartment 7, Oakwood Residences, 23, Cooper Street, Ikoyi, Lagos and B4, Gate 3, Lafiaji Road, Victoria Crescent Estate, Olugborogon, Chevron, Lekki, Lagos or any other properties/assets of the 1st, 2nd 3rd and 4th Defendants that can be traced and located by Claimants/ Applicants during the pendency of the suit.

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