There is no reprieve yet for the embattled former Managing Director of Bank PHB PLC Francis Atuche, as Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has filed a debt recovery suit of N140,654,366.10 against him.
In 19 paragraphs statement of claim supported by written statement on oath of AMCON credit officer Joke Are and filed before a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, by a Lagos lawyer, Oluwayomi Akinde, the deponent averred that the Defendant Francis Atuche Onyeluka, being the Managing Director of Bank PHB Plc, at the particular period of time the facility sought to be recovered herein was procured, was by virtue of his employment an account holder in Bank PHB PLC now Keystone bank the predecessor-in-title to the Claimant herein.
AMCON averred that sometime in February 2005, the defendant obtained a Mortgage facility for the purpose of purchasing a property, saying that the defendant, upon being granted the facility on the 9th of February, 2005, diverted the said funds by using same to procure shares of the same Bank PHB on the 22nd of February, 2005.
AMCON said the defendant failed to liquidate the facility which now has an outstanding of about N140,654,366.10 as of 31st of May 2022 with interest still accruing.
Francis Atuche, Former Bank PHB Boss Faces Debt Recovery Suit Of N140.6m From AMCON
It said the facility was subsequently acquired by AMCON because of the non-performance and the recalcitrance of the defendant to payment.
AMCON added that upon the assignment, the Claimant caused a fresh letter of demand to be served on the defendant through its authorized Partner, (Oye Akintola & Co (In Consortium).
In spite of this, AMCON said the defendant failed, neglected, and refused to pay his outstanding indebtedness but has continued to operate his businesses profitably while refusing to pay his debt to AMCON herein and that the only feasible option for the Claimant was to bring this application to secure its interest and prevent the total loss of the assets of the Claimant.
The Claimant averred that part of the funds obtained by the defendant had been diverted into other personal businesses by the defendant, especially having regard to the fact that the purpose of obtaining the funds ab initio was not pursued.
AMCON said the defendant maintained several accounts with substantial funds in them and that it would be in the interest of justice and in accordance with the intent of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria Act 2010 (as amended) to freeze and attach any accounts standing to the credit of the defendant to the benefit of the applicant, including but not limited to nine different accounts in two different banks.
The Claimant averred that due to the persistent refusal, failure or negligence in paying the outstanding indebtedness to the Claimant, the outstanding indebtedness now stood at N140,654,366.10 with interest still accruing.
“It has become imperative, due to the defendant’s unwilling attitude to liquidate the outstanding sum of N140,654,366.10 being outstanding balance as of May 31st, 2022 with interest still accruing, to bring the extant action.
“It, therefore, applied to this Honourable Court vide an application “Without Notice” dated the 12th day of September 2023 seeking an Order of this Honourable Court to freeze the accounts of the defendants to the tune of N140,654,366.10 (One Hundred and Forty Million, Six Hundred and Fifty-Four Thousand, Three Hundred and Sixty-Six Naira Ten Kobo) only as at 31st of May 2022 with interest still accumulating among other reliefs. The said application was granted on the 25th of September 2023,” it stated.
The Claimant said it would not be in the interest of justice to allow the defendant to continue to enjoy the wealth amassed from using the funds granted as a loan to the defendant by the eligible financial institution without intent to repay the said facility to the Claimant.
It added that all efforts made by its external solicitors and partners to recover the said debt through dialogue were to no avail as the defendant refused, neglected, and in fact decided not to liquidate the amount owed and due to the Claimant.
Whereof the Claimant claims as follows: “A Declaration that the Defendant is indebted to the Claimant in the sum of N140,654,366.10 Three Hundred (One Hundred and Sixty and Six Forty Naira Million, Ten Kobo) Six Hundred Only as at 31st May 2022 with interest still accumulating; a Declaration that the Claimant is entitled to recover the sum of N140,654,366.10 (One Hundred and Forty Million, Six Hundred and Fifty-Four Thousand, Three Hundred and Sixty-Six Naira Ten Kobo) Only as at 31st May 2022 with interest still accumulating.
“An order for the immediate payment of the sum of N140,654,366.10 (One Hundred and Forty Million, Six Hundred and Fifty-Four Thousand, Three Hundred and Sixty-Six Naira Ten Kobo) Only as at 31st May 2022 with interest still accumulating; an order for the payment of interest on the sum N140,654,366.10 (One Hundred and Forty Million, Six Hundred and Fifty-Four Thousand, Three Hundred and Sixty-Six Naira Ten Kobo) Only as at 31st May 2022 with interest still accumulating till final judgment and post-judgment interest at the rate of 10% per annum until final liquidation of the entire final judgment with accrued interest
“An order of this Honourable Court attaching all the accounts listed before the court to the tune of N140,654,366.10 (One Hundred and Forty Million, Six Hundred and Fifty-Four Thousand, Three Hundred and Sixty-Six Naira Ten Kobo) Only with interest at the rate of 20.5% per annum from 31st May 2022 till final judgment and post-judgment interest at the rate of 10% per annum until final liquidation of the final judgment with the accrued interest and an order directing the police force (The Inspector General of Police or any of its officials) to assist the bailiffs or the Deputy Sheriff of the Honourable Court to enforce the judgment and the Orders herein made by this Honourable Court pursuant to the claim,” AMCON demanded.
BY IYABO AINA
Publisher Of News Rain Nigeria