Court Restrains Business Mogul, Osibodu From Operating Accounts In 17 Banks Over N8.7bn Debt

Posted on November 22, 2017

MICHAEL AKINOLA

Lagos business mogul, Mr. Victor Osibodu, his company, Vigeo Limited and their agents have been restrained by the Federal High Court, Lagos from dealing in whatever form monies under their control in 17 commercial banks in Nigeria pending the determination of a claim of N8,701,770,328.83 suit filed against them by Ecobank Plc.

The court also ordered the affected banks to freeze and not to carry out any transaction on the accounts of the defendants and that they should depose to an affidavit disclosing the nature, value, and balances in their custody.

Osibodu and his agents are also restrained from dealing in or howsoever dissipating all his movable assets.

According to an affidavit sworn to by Adeniran Ojora, a banker at Ecobank Nigeria limited, and filed before the court by a Law Firm of Simmons Cooper Partners, Ecobank allegedly granted several loan facilities to the defendants.

By a term loan facility dated August 1, 2008 and duly executed by the bank and Vigeo Limited on August 8, 2008, the bank approved a loan of $2 million.

It was agreed that the bank would make an equity contribution of 80 per cent in the sum of $1.6 million and Osibodu would make a contribution of 20 per cent in the sum of $400,000 towards financing of the dry docking exercise, in addition to the legal Mortgage over the company and the personal guarantee of Osibodu backed up by notarized statement of networth.

In 2009, the bank approved $1 million in favour of Vigeo Limited by a Promissory note dated June 30, 2007 and duly executed by its Director and Secretary.

The company undertook to pay the sum $1 million only on 30 June 2013 being due date fixed by the promissory note.

Further to the personal guarantee as stated above, Osibodu provided a notarized statement of his net worth which valued his net worth as N2,871,984,896.49, all these loans were at one time or the other restructured.

In a letter dated June 27, 2014, the bank informed Vigeo that its account had remained non-performing as the company had failed to make the agreed loan repayments.

The bank also provided Osibodu’s outstanding loan obligations which stood at N719,332,948.38 due for 365 days and US$13,074,478.40 due for 365 days and US$4,114.28 due 390 days.

As a consequence of Victor Osibodu’s failure to repay the outstanding sums as at August 1, 2016 the bank formally called in his personal guarantee off by demanding the immediate payment of N869,794,650.56 and US$16,381,292.52 on or before September, 2016.

As at 6 December, 2016, the Vigeo total outstanding indebtedness stood at N8,123,327,459.83.

However, upon payment of the amount realised from the sale of the share of Osibodu, the company’s outstanding indebtedness reduced to N7,526,112,446.84.

Osibodu, as the Chairman of Vigeo Limited was alleged to have specifically involved in negotiating the loan facilities from 2007 to 2014 while Vigeo was typically involved in the approval process of the loan facilities from 2007 to 2014.

Ojora averred further that Osibodu had begun to dispose of his shares in blue chip companies having been made aware that the bank had disposed his shares which were used as part security for the loan granted the Vigeo.

In his ruling, Justice Saliu Saidu restrained Vigeo and its Chairman, Osibodu from removing or transferring, dealing in or however dissipating all their movable assets up to the Plaintiff ‘s claim of the sum of N8,701,770,328.83 pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

The defendants were also barred from operating their accounts domicile in 17 commercial banks in Nigeria pending the determination of the substantive suit.

The case has been adjourned till next week for mention.

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