November 9, 2021

$78.4m claim: Court stops 2 energy firms from accessing funds, assets worldwide

Appeal court

By Innocent Anaba

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has restrained Shebah Exploration and Production Company Ltd, Sheban Petroleum Development Company Ltd and persons acting on their behalf from withdrawing from the accounts of nine other defendants and 29 banks.

Trial judge, Justice Yellin Bogoro made the interim order while granting ex-parte Mareva application applied for by a commercial bank through its counsel, Mr Kemi Balogun, SAN, in the matter of an alleged $78,426,578.64 debt.

The injunction restrained the trio and their proxies in Nigeria, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, the European Union and any jurisdiction worldwide, pending the hearing and determination of Zenith’s motion on notice.

Some other respondents in the matter are Zebra Energy Nigeria Ltd; Glencore U.K Ltd; Abbey Court Energy Service Ltd and Neimeth Pharmaceutical International Plc, in addition to 29 financial institutions.

The judge further restrained other defendants or persons acting on their behalf from dissipating, disposing of, selling, transferring, alienating, and/or moving out of the court’s jurisdiction any asset and other instruments in the name of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd, defendants or acquired by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants, anywhere in the world.

The order also restrained persons from receiving and/or otherwise dissipating any dividend or profits held by anyone appointed by him and through any scheme which is under the custody of the 4th to 9th defendants.

The interim order of Mareva injunction also barred the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants from disposing of any of their assets, money.

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“Leave is granted to the plaintiff to serve the originating processes and all other processes filed and to be filed in this suit on the 2nd, 6th and 9th defendants through DHL Courier delivery company to their respective addresses,” Justice Bogoro held.

Alternatively, the court directed Zenith Bank to publish all the originating processes and other processes filed in two national dailies and adjourned till November 17, 2021, for the Report of Service.

In arguing the application, Balogun told the court that pursuant to deeds of guarantee executed by the 2nd and 3rd defendants, “The plaintiff availed the 1st defendant several facilities which have now culminated in outstanding indebtedness of $78,426,578.64 as of August 31, 2021, and interest continues to accrue.

“The facilities having become due and awaiting liquidation after several demands, the plaintiff has a good, arguable, and prima facie case before this court and there is a likelihood that this court will find in favour of the plaintiff and enter a monetary judgment in its favour particularly in the sum of $78,426,578.64.”

Vanguard News Nigeria