A Federal High Court has freezed the bank accounts belonging to Sani Dangote the Vice President of Dangote group and owner of Dansa Foods, in 20 banks over bad debt.Union Bank brought the case against Dangote,whose brother Aliko is regarded as Africa’s richest man according to Forbes world billionaire list.
Union bank brought the against Dangote, alleging that the businessman is owing it about N5 billion.However, other banks showed interest in the case because Mr. Dangote is also owing them. Justice Okon Abang said all accounts belonging to Dangote should be incapacitated pending the hearing of the suit on September 11, 2014.
The banks are Access, CITI, Diamond, Ecobank, Enterprise, Fidelity, First Bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Heritage, Keystone, Mainstreet, Skye Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Standard Chartered Bank, Sterling, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Unity, Wema and Zenith.
Justice Abang, however, ordered Union Bank to file undertaken to indemnify the defendants in the event that the freezing order ought not to have been made.
“In line with Order 28 rule 2 of the rules of this court, an interim order is hereby made restraining the banks from allowing the defendants to operative their accounts with them especially honouring withdrawal of funds.
“I think the dictate of justice demands that a preserving order should be made to preserve the res (subject matter) of this suit,” Justice Abang held.
Union Bank had sued Dangote and his companies over alleged failure to liquidate about N5 billion debt despite repeated demands.
‘’The bank, in two separate suits against Dangote and his companies, had sought an order of mareva injunction restraining all commercial banks in Nigeria from allowing withdrawal of funds from their accounts pending the determination of the suits.
When the matter came up for hearing on Thursday, the motion could not be heard as the defendants had filed objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit.
Two out of all the banks, Diamond and Zenith banks appeared before the court on and explained that Dangote was equally indebted to them.
Zenith Bank specifically said Dangote was indebted to the bank to the tune of €7 million Euros
However while stating that he would entertain all the applications filed in the matter on September 11, Justice Abang said there was an urgent need to preserve the res in view of the allegation that the defendants were about to move the funds abroad.
Union Bank, in the suits, alleged that in a bid to evade payment of the loan, Dangote has been making frantic efforts to deplete the funds in the accounts of his companies, and that investigation had revealed that the defendants had started diverting the funds to Dubai in United Arab Emirates (UAE), Canada and Switzerland.
According to two separate affidavits in support of the suits deposed to by one Olufunmilola Ayoola, an official of the bank, it was alleged that the failure of the defendants to liquidate the monumental debt had negatively affected the Nigerian economy, a development which the bank claimed necessitated the suits.
Ayoola further averred that Union Bank was having difficulty in extending credit facilities to small scale businesses which in turn would have helped in boosting the nation’s economy and salvage the country from its present malaise of corruption and under development crisis.
The bank stated that the funds which Sani and his companies failed to pay, were capable of going a long way in impacting positively on the nation’s economy.
According to the processes, the bank in September 2008, granted the defendants N5.2 billion.
The breakdown of the loan was given as follows; N500 million overdraft, N500 million advert loan, $2.5 million equipment lease, $2.5 million sales and lease back and $30 million import finance.
Ayoola recalled that when the defendants could not fulfil the promise of paying back the credit facilities from time to time, the bank approved the restricting of the loan, despite that development, Dansa Foods was indebted to the bank to the tune of N4.003 billion as at November 29, 2012.
The loan was later reduced to N3.477 billion, but despite repeated demands, the defendants failed to liquidate the debt.
Bulk Pack, on the other hand, as at date, is indebted to the bank to the tune of N745.145 million’