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First Bank Chairman in N122 billion bond mess

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A bond deal of N122 billion gone awry has shockingly earned the Chairman of First Bank Plc, Ms. Ibukun Awosika, a suspended prison sentence from a Federal High Court in Lagos. Trouble started for Awosika, her bank and her Managing Director, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, following First Bank’s inability to honour the payment of N122 billion bond guaranteed by the bank in a judgment debt against Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

The N122 billion is a spin-off from an oil spill suit instituted by Ejama Community in Ogoniland, Rivers State. It would be recalled that 10 indigenes of Ejama Community had at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt sued Royal Dutch Shell Plc Netherlands, Royal Dutch Shell Plc United Kingdom and SPDC over alleged oil spills that occurred when Shell operated in the community.

Justice Ibrahim Buba had in his judgment in 2010 awarded N17 billion to the representatives of the Ogoni people.

The court had equally granted the Ejema Chiefs 25 per cent interest charge on the principal sum of about N17 billion. Shell had then appealed against the judgment and applied for a stay of execution of the judgment pending the appeal. As a condition for granting the stay of execution, the court required Shell’s bankers, First Bank Plc, to provide a guarantee of the judgment sum.

This condition was complied with. But Shell’s appeal failed at the Court of Appeal on technical grounds, ostensibly because it filed its processes out of time and without regularising them.

Consequent upon the failure of the appeal and the refusal of First Bank to honour the payment of judgment debt which the bank had early guarantee through a bond, the applicants, through their lawyers, Chief Lucius Nwosu (SAN), A.A. Lawal -Rabana (SAN) and Ken C. Njemanze (SAN) filed Form 48 and Form 49 (committal to prison) against the bank, its chairman and managing director.

In convicting First Bank, its chairman, and managing director, Justice Buba had dismissed all the applications filed by the bank’s counsel Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), describing contempt proceedings as abuse of court process and being statue bar.

However, Justice Ibrahim Buba suspended the serving term of conviction of the bank and its officials for three months to enable them purge themselves of the contempt.

The judge held that if by September 6 2018 the convicts failed to purge themselves of the contempt proceedings, they shall immediately be sent to prison.

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Army releases detained pregnant woman, Noroh Dung

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Noro Dung

The Nigerian Army has yielded to pressure and released a heavily pregnant woman, Noroh Dung, who was arrested and detained during a search and rescue operation in Du district, Jos South LGA of Plateau State.

Noroh who was whisked away on October 2 was released on Friday, October 12.

Speaking to SATELLITE TIMES, Barr. Godfree Matthew of the Christian Lawyers Association, confirmed Noroh’s release, adding that he was a signatory on behalf of the NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) he represents.

The news of her release comes shortly after the House of Reps waded into the matter, asking the Federal Government to allow relevant agencies to do everything within the law to trace the whereabouts of all missing persons in Nigeria.

SATELLITE TIMES had reported how Noroh was arrested alongside other civilians on suspicions of probable links to the disappearance of Gen. Idris Alkali, who according to the Nigerian Army was a victim of irate youths who blocked roads and attacked travelers, following the invasion of their community on September 2.

SATELLITE TIMES and the Christian Lawyers Association have been championing the release of Noroh ever since the news of her arrest reached this paper.

Details later…

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Missing General: House of Reps responds to Satellite Times report

calls for investigation into disappearance of missing pregnant woman, Noroh Dung

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Noro Dung

The House of Representatives on Thursday responded to a report by SATELLITE TIMES newspaper over the arrest and detainment of a heavily pregnant 20-year-old woman, Noroh Dung, who was whisked away midnight October 2, following a search and rescue operation by the Nigerian Army in Du district of Jos, the Plateau State capital.

SATELLITE TIMES had reported how Noroh was arrested alongside other civilians on suspicions of probable links to the disappearance of Gen. Idris Alkali, who according to the Nigerian Army was a victim of irate youths who blocked roads and attacked travelers, following the invasion of their community on September 2.

This paper also reported how a PUNCH journalist, Mr. Friday Olokor was arrested and detained in a military dungeon on October 6, where he said he saw a pregnant woman suspected to be Noroh Dung.

READ ALSO: Missing General: Heavily pregnant woman held captive by Nigerian Army in Jos

The motion was raised on the floor of the House by a member from Plateau State, Mr. Edward Pwajok (SAN) who raised concerns about the direct involvement of the military in the investigation of the cases of missing persons.

While sympathizing with families who were affected by the recent unrest, Mr. Pwajok urged the Federal Government to allow relevant agencies to do everything within the law to trace the whereabouts of all missing persons in Nigeria.

He urged the “Federal Government and the relevant security agencies to do everything within the law to trace the whereabouts of all missing persons in Nigeria, including but not limited to Maj. Gen. Alkali and Captain Mwankon-Gyang.”

Mr. Pwajok told the House that allowing constituted security agencies to handle the investigation of missing persons in the communities, specifically the Police and DSS (Department of State Service) would help respect the rule of law and human rights of the citizens.

Similarly, Mr. Pwajok called for the release of all those under detention, particularly civilians detained at the 3rd Division Nigeria Army Rukuba Barracks in Jos, for proper investigation in line with due process and the rule of law.

Part of the motion raised by the House read, “(The House) is further worried by reports that many people, including pregnant women and the aged, were and are being arrested and taken to the Rukuba Barracks of the 3rd Armoured Division of the Nigerian Army for interrogation with some of them spending many days there; among them was a journalist, Mr Friday Olokor, a correspondent of The PUNCH newspapers in Jos, who was arrested along with others in a restaurant in Ray Field…”

On October 8, this paper contacted Col. Kayode Ogunsanya, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations for an official response to confirm whether or not Noroh was in their custody, he did not pick his calls but later responded saying, “no such name in our custody.”

While the army has remained in denial of Noroh’s arrest and detainment, it is suspected that more pregnant women could be sharing the same fate at the 3rd Division of the Nigerian Army in Rukuba Barracks.

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Access Bank to pay N100 million damages to Oba Tejuoso

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Access Bank Plc
Access Bank Plc building used to illustrate the story

After six years of fierce legal battle between Ogun State monarch, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso and Access Bank Plc, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court, Lagos on Tuesday slammed N100 million damages on the bank for its negligence.

The trial judge, Justice Olatoregun in her judgment held Access Bank and the third defendant; Intercontinental Securities Limited liable for gross negligence in the handling of share purchases by the Mr. Tejuoso, kept under their care and control.

The bank, in July 2008 advanced to the plaintiff the sum of N276,613,297.00 for the purchase of shares in various companies.

According to the agreement between the plaintiff and Access Bank, the security for the loan was the share certificates which were kept under the management and control of the bank.

The court took judicial notice of the express instruction in writing given to the bank by the Plaintiff that the shares purchased with the loan should be sold immediately their value dropped below 130% of the loan facility.

The trial court agreed with the contention of counsel to the plaintiff, Mr. Adeleke Agbola that the bank failed to observe the minimum legal duty of care to the plaintiff in their contractual relationship.

However, the court in its judgment ordered the bank and its subsidiary, Intercontinental Securities Limited to pay the sum of N100 million damages to Mr. Tejuosho for breach of contract.

Agreeing with the argument canvassed by Mr. Agbola, the court held that from the material facts placed before it that the Plaintiff has suffered great loss of his monies under the care of the bank.

Oba Tejuoso

Oba Tejuoso [Photo credit: guardian.ng]

The monarch instituted the suit in 2012 against the defendants. The suit had earlier dragged to the Court of Appeal over an attempt to remove Access Bank as a co-defendant in the suit.

However, the attempt was rebuffed by the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division. In its verdict, the appellate court held that the bank was a necessary party to the suit, and ordered for return of the suit to the lower court for the trial to start afresh.

In the suit, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) was listed as the first defendant while the bank and its subsidiary, Intercontinental Securities Limited were listed as second and third defendants.

It was held that the banker/customer relationship between the plaintiff, and the 2nd and 3rd defendants imposed a legal duty of care on the defendants which was breached, as a result of their negligent conduct.

Apart from the N100 million damages, the court ordered the bank and Intercontinental Securities Limited to give account of how they used the N276,613,297.00 facility advanced to the Plaintiff and also give an account of all purchases and sales of stocks and shares effected by or on the instruction of both the 2nd and 3rd defendants on the usage of the Plaintiff’s money.

 

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