Two Federal high courts sitting in Lagos, south west Nigeria, have adjourned two bankruptcy suits filed against Risqua Murtala Muhammed, the son of the former late Nigerian head of state, General Murtala Muhammed.
The first case FHC /L /BK /07/14 is slated for judgement while the second case C/L/BK/10/14 is for report of settlement since there is ongoing negotiation between the parties for settlement.
In the first suit filed by a Lagos lawyer, Barrister Norrison I. Quakers (SAN) on behalf of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, the bank in an affidavit of truth of statement in support of the petition sworn to by its legal officer, Tolulope Fadipe, it was alleged that Mr Risqua Murtala Muhammed, a businessman whose address is 43, Usuma Street, off Gana street, Maitama, Federal Capital Territory, dealing among other things in petroleum products herein referred to as the ‘Debtor’ is justly and truly indebted to Guaranty Trust Bank Plc in the sum of N1,365,470,643.46k.
The money is the outstanding balance of loan facility granted AMG Petroenergy Limited for the importation of petroleum products from international and other local sources for supply to some off-takers including Total Nigeria Plc and Exxon Mobil.
It was further alleged that the sum of $40 million was granted by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc as import finance facility to AMG Petroenergy Limited, which Risqua Murtala Muhammed is the President/Chief Executive Officer, for the purchase of refine petroleum products.
The said sum of $40 million was secured by a letter of credit proceeds and the personal guarantee of Mr Risqua Muhammed, as the President/Chief Executive Officer of AMG Petroenergy Limited.
Upon maturity of the credit facility granted, the debtor and his company could not meet up with the repayment obligation. This resulted in the bank granting several concessions to Risqua which did not yield any positive result.
Consequently, the sum of N1,365,470,643.46k is now due and remain unpaid as the debtor has failed and neglected to pay despite several demands and entreaties by the bank.
The bank has also called in the personal guarantee of the debtor but he has failed to pay despite all demands.
The debtor with intent to delay the claims of the bank was alleged to have vacated his dwelling or otherwise kept himself away from the petitioner’s reach. Therefore, the bank requested the registrar of the court to issue bankruptcy notice address to him.
However in a notice of intention to defend the petition filed before the court on behalf of Risqua by the law firm of Consolex legal practitioners, Risqua contended that the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the petition as same was instituted by a multiplicity of originating processes.
Risqua’s counsel argued that the bank is not entitled to issue a bankruptcy notice against him since it has not obtained final order or judgement against him for any amount.
The bank was also alleged to have failed to furnish the registrar of the court with either of the documents required by law.
The presiding judge, Saliu Saidu, has adjourned the matter for judgement.
In the second bankruptcy suit filed before the court by Mr Adekunle Ogunba (SAN) on behalf of Ecobank, it was alleged that Risqua Murtala Muhammed who resides at 40, Colrado Crescent, Ministers Hills, Maitama, Abuja, the debtor is the Managing Director/Alter ego of AMG Petroenergy Limited.
Due to banker-customer relationship that existed between the parties, between June 2006 and October, 2009, Ecobank extended several facilities to AMG Petroenergy company.
The facilities availed AMG Petroenergy were secured with personal guarantee of Risqua Murtala Muhammed supported with his statement of his net worth.
Before obtaining the facilities, AMG Petroenegy company legally mortgaged property situated at Plot 708A, Adeola Hopewell Street, Victoria Island, Lagos in favour of the bank.
The restructured facility with accrued interest was eventually sold to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) due to the company’s inability to meet up with the repayment plan.
The Principal Debtor AMG Petroenergy Limited has refused or is unable to repay the outstanding sum of #1,006,791,256.37 as at 13th August,2014. despite repeated demands.
The tenor/repayment plan of the facility secured by the personal guarantee of Risqua Murtala Muhammed has expired and the debtor has not liquidated the said indebtedness as he has refused to heed all the lawful demands of the bank.
Consequently, the bank seeks from the court the following reliefs:
An order declaring the debtor bankrupt and consequential order as follows:
Empowering the bank to sell the debtor’s properties where-ever situated or found either by private treaty or by public auction to be published in two Daily National Newspapers.
An order granting leave to the bank to appropriate or otherwise utilize the investments, shares or other interests of the Debtor in AMG Petroenergy Limited and any other company/corporate entity in Nigeria, repaying the facility to the extent it covers.
An order permitting the Creditor to apply the proceeds from the sale of the Debtor’s properties, chattels towards the repayment of the facility to the bank, to the extent it can cover.
Justice James Tsoho has adjourned for the report of settlement since the parties are negotiating for out-of-court settlement.
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