January 22, 2019

Court orders Oduah’s coy to pay $16.4m debt to Sterling Bank



By Innocent Anaba

LAGOS—A  Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, has entered judgment in favour of Sterling Bank Plc jointly and severally against the former Aviation Minister, Senator Stella Oduah and her company, Sea Petroleum and Gas Limited in the sum of $16,412,819.06 and N100,493,225.59 respectively.


The sum is an outstanding debt owed by the Sea Petroleum and Gas  Company and duly guaranteed by Senator   Oduah as at November 2016 to the bank with accrued interest.

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Trial judge, Justice Ayotunde Faji in his judgment while granting six reliefs out of the 14 sought by the bank, issued order of attachment in favour of the bank against such entire assets of Sea Petroleum and Gas Company, cash in bank, bond, deposit, real estate, stocks, all forms of negotiable instruments in all stock broking firms, discount houses, mortgage institutions, financial houses, microfinance houses, and all licensed banks within  Nigeria having Sea Petroleum as beneficial owner  funds to the full extent of the unsatisfied portion of the sum of $16,41 million and N100.49 million respectively as at November 2016 and other accrued interest.

The court also declared that having regard to the clear and unambiguous provisions of the deed of guarantee and indemnity personally executed by Oduah in favour of Sterling Bank over facility advanced to the Sea Petroleum and Gas, which has failed upon demands to liquidate same, judgment can be granted against Oduah for the unsatisfied portion of the sum owed by the company to the bank.

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The judgment of the court was sequel to a debt recovery suit by the bank through its counsel, Mr Oluwakemi  Balogun, SAN, in which the company argued that despite several attempt to get the company to repay the facility, it has been unable to do so.

Senator Oduah, on her part, had challenged the suit, contending that, the vessel purchased with the loan facility was registered in the name of Sterling Bank until the defendant discharges the facility.

She contended that the bank was to appoint technical managers for the vessel to ensure it was in good condition, as the managers appointed by the bank mismanaged the vessel resulting in several losses to the defendants.