By Innocent Anaba
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, adjourned till July 27, 2007 for definite hearing in the petition filed by Access Bank Plc against African Petroleum Plc over alleged default in the payment of a loan facility.
At the resumed hearing in the matter yesterday, counsel to AP, S.P.A Ajibade (SAN) told the court that his client was served with the petition on July 20, 2009, and that he had filed preliminary objection to the petition, adding: â€œBased on the development, we are ready to proceed with hearing.â€
Counsel to the petitioner, Mr Norrison Quakers, however, urged the court to direct parties to file written addresses, adding that the Civil Procedure Rules of the Federal High Court stipulates that written addresses must be filed in support or opposition to the petition.
He prayed the court to adjourn the matter for parties to comply with the rules of court.
Ajibade on his part insisted that written address was not required in a winding up petition, but that if the court was minded of granting any adjournment, it should be a short one.
â€œThis petition has been advertised and is causing a lot of inconveniences on my client. So, if the court is minded of granting an adjournment, it should be a short one,â€ he said.
Access Bank is contending in the petition that on December 17, 2007, it granted a N100 million facility in form of a Trade Finance Line (TFC) to the respondent, for a tenor of one year, with each transaction within the facility to have a specified tenor to a maximum tenor of 90 days.
According to the bank, in consideration of the TFC, the respondent gave a negative pledge in favour of the petitioner, and the respondent later utilised the TFC by requesting a letter of credit of $35,153. 822.5 to be opened by the petitioner on respondentâ€™s behalf.
The bank further argued, upon maturity of the loan facility, the respondent was unable to settle the obligation of $35,153.822.15, and that since the obligation became due, it made several attempts to get the respondent to settle its obligation, all to no avail.
But AP in opposition to the suit, argued that the only reason why it failed to pay the debt was because the petitioner insisted on being paid an amount in excess of what it is legitimately entitled to and its desire to obtain an undue and illegitimate advantage arisen from fluctuations in the exchange rate.
AP is further contending that the petitioner lacks locus standi to institute the case, and that the subject matter