Court freezes Seplat Petroleum accounts in 29 banks over $78m Zenith Bank Debt
The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has restrained Shebah Exploration and Production Company Ltd, Sheban Petroleum Development Company Ltd and Dr Ambrose Orjiako and persons acting on their behalf from withdrawing from the accounts of Seplat Petroleum held in 29 banks.
Justice Yellin Bogoro made the interim order while granting ex parte Mareva application applied for by Zenith Bank Plc through its counsel, Mr Kemi Balogun, SAN, in the matter of an alleged $78,426,578.64 debt.
The injunction restrained the trio and their proxies in Nigeria, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, the European Union and any jurisdiction worldwide, pending the hearing and determination of Zenith’s motion on notice.
The 4th to 9th respondents are Seplat Petroleum Development Plc; Zebra Energy Nigeria Ltd; Glencore U.K Ltd; Abbey Court Energy Service Ltd; Neimeth Pharmaceutical International Plc; All Trustees, Proxies, Agents, Nominees and all individuals or body corporates holding the asset or assets of the 3rd defendant, Dr Orjiako.The judge further restrained the 4th to 9th defendants or persons acting on their behalf from dissipating, disposing of, selling, transferring, alienating, and/or moving out of the court’s jurisdiction any asset and other instruments in the name of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, Defendants or acquired by the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Defendants, anywhere in the world.
The order also restrained Dr Orjiako from receiving and/or otherwise dissipating any dividend or profits held by anyone appointed by him and through any scheme which is under the custody of the 4th to 9th defendants.The interim order of MarevaMareva injunction is also barred the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Defendants from disposing of any of their assets, money.
“Leave is granted to the Plaintiff to serve the originating processes and all other processes filed and to be filed in this suit on the 2nd, 6th and 9th Defendants through DHL Courier delivery company to their respective addresses,” Justice Bogoro held.
Alternatively, he directed Zenith Bank to publish all the originating processes and other processes filed in two national dailies and adjourned till November 17, for Report of Service.
The 29 financial institutions cited in the application are Central Securities Clearing System Plc (CSCS); Access Bank Plc; Fidelity Bank Plc; First City Monument Bank Plc; First Bank Of Nigeria Ltd; Guaranty Trust Bank Plc; Union Bank Of Nigeria Plc; Citibank Nigeria Ltd; Ecobank Nigeria Plc; Heritage Banking Company Ltd; Polaris Bank Ltd; Keystone Bank Ltd; Stanbic (IBTC) Bank Plc; Standard Chartered Bank; Sterling Bank Plc; Titan Trust Bank Ltd; Unity Bank Plc; Globus Banks Ltd; United Bank For Africa Plc; Wema Bank Plc; Suntrust Bank Nigeria Limited; Providus Bank Ltd; Jazz Bank Plc; Tajbank Ltd; Coronation Merchant Bank Ltd; FBNQuest Merchant Bank Ltd; FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd; Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria Ltd; Nova Merchant Bank Ltd.In arguing the application Balogun told the court that pursuant to deeds of guarantee executed by the 2nd and 3rd Defendants, “the plaintiff availed the 1st Defendant several facilities which have now culminated in outstanding indebtedness of $78,426,578.64 as of August 31, 2021,, and interest continues to accrue.
“The facilities having become due and awaiting liquidation after several demands, the Plaintiff has a good, arguable, and prima facie case before this court and there is a likelihood that this Honourable Court will find in favour of the Plaintiff and enter a monetary judgment in its favour particularly in the sum of $78,426,578.64”He averred further that “in a bid to avoid the indebtedness that has arisen from the various facilities to the 1st Defendant by the Plaintiff, the Defendants have started taking steps to dissipate their assets.
“The Defendants resorted to this strategy to ensure that the likely judgment of this Honourable Court in favour of the Plaintiff is rendered nugatory for want of assets to satisfy same.”