Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, on Thursday failed to stop a Federal High Court siting in Abuja from varying an interlocutory injunction it earlier granted restraining Capital Oil and Gas Industries limited and it’s managing director, Mr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, from interfering in the company’s assets and funds in 21 banks listed in the order, including Citi Bank Plc.
The court had granted the order upon a motion exparte brought before it by AMCON for the purpose of securing the properties of Mr. Ubah who is owing the corporation a huge amount in debts.
At the resumed hearing into the matter Mr. Uba’s lawyers led by Mr. Lawal Rabana, a senior advocate of Nigeria, told the court that they have an application before the court seeking to set aside or discharge the order made against Ubah and his company, Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited which was calculated to prevent Amcon from disposing or selling off any or part of Uba’s properties or acting in any manner whatsoever that is contrary to the proprietary rights of his client.
This application however could not be taken as the counsel representing, Mr. Kemi Balogun, opposed the hearing of the application on the ground that he has not been served the application to enable him formally respond.
Mr. Rabana countered Mr. Balogun’s submission by showing the court a proof of service showing that Mr. Balogun’s client, Amcon, had since been served with the application. This forced Balogun to abandon his earlier position and pleaded with the court to allow him time to respond to the application.
Upon this request for time, Mr. Rabana applied to the court to in the meantime, vary some aspect of the order to enable his client, Mr. Uba, to have access to some of his personal and company’s accounts at the United Bank for Africa, UBA, to enable him pay the salaries of his over 5,000 employes who have dependents as well as to enable him fulfil his other obligations and family’s needs.
According to the senior advocate, “looking at the order made by this court, there is an element of it that has a devastating effect on my client. If he can’t access his funds in the banks, he cannot feed his family or pay his employees who also have dependents. Even if my client committed murder, he is still entitled to eat. I urge you to vary your earlier order to enable my client access his accounts at UBA where there is enough fund to cater for the immediate needs of my client to pay his employees and feed his own family, even if it is to access 50% of the funds there”
Amcon’s lawyer, Mr. Balogun, vehemently opposed this application. He contended that granting the variation demanded by Mr. Ubah amounts to endangering the interest of the corporation which is part of Nigerian government with stakeholders whose interests also need to be protected by the court.
He also told the court that the amount claimed by UBA and Ubah as balances in 16 accounts he maintains at the bank were incorrect claiming that his client, Amcon, knows as a matter of fact that the accounts contain amounts in excess of N400 million and that allowing Ubah access to such funds will hurt his client’s interest.
In reaching a decision on the issuean the court presided by Justice Abdu-Kafarati noted that the court is minded to make it possible for Ubah and his company to be able to pay their staff salaries as well as be able to live. He thereafter varied the initial order to allow Ubah and his company have access to 25% of their funds at accounts they maintain at UBA.
Hearing of the Ubah’s application to set aside the entire order was subsequently scheduled for hearing on 30th November to allow Amcon and its lawyers to file in their response.
Source: PM News