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    Monday, June 23, 2014

    Ibru Moves Against Sale Of Oceanic Bank, Takeover Of Aero 

    Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday adjourned till 10 July to hear the suit instituted by former managing director of defunct Oceanic Bank International Plc.
    Mrs Cecilia Ibru, asking the court to compel the Federal Government to implement her plea bargain as specified in the agreement she signed with the government
    Ibru instituted the suit through her lawyer, Dr. Ted Iseghohi-Edwards, on behalf of herself and the Ibru group against the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, over an alleged breach by the Federal Government in the implementation of the terms of agreement she entered as part of her plea bargain in 2010.

    Ibru is asking the court to make a declaration that the plea bargain and settlement agreement that she entered with the Federal Government in 2010 is a valid and enforceable agreement between the parties and more particularly valid against the Federal Government of Nigeria or any of it’s organs, including but not limited to AMCON and to declare that the striping of the assets and the subsequent sale of Oceanic Bank International Plc to Access Bank Plc was not part of the plea bargain and settlement agreement which she signed with the Federal Government and to declare the sale of the defunct bank a sham, misconceived, mischievous and of no legal consequences.
    Furthermore, Mrs. Ibru urged the court to also declare that Aero Contractors Nigeria Limited was also not on the list of assets she forfeited to the Federal Government as part of her plea bargain and asked the court to declare that any attempt by AMCON to take over the airline or attach its assets as ultra vires and of no legal consequences.

    At the root of the suit filed by the former chief executive officer is an ex parte order obtained from a Federal High court in Lagos last November by AMCON against a private company, Sidochem Industries Limited, and the company’s managing director, Mr Edgar Sido and two others over a loan of N433.5 million owed the defunct bank which AMCON acquired.

    AMCON had approached the Federal High court in Lagos where it complained that the debtor company and the managing director who personally guaranteed the loans granted to the company by the defunct bank, had refused to resolve their indebtedness to the corporation and have been taking steps to frustrate every step taken by AMCON to the said debt by using every manner of tricks to evade payment.

    The corporation thereby sought for an order of the court empowering it to take immediate possession of the assets and properties of the company covered in the deed of all assets debenture created by the company in favour of Oceanic Bank as well as the freezing of all accounts operated by the company in nineteen commercial banks in Nigeria.
    The trial judge, Justice Idris, granted the orders as requested by AMCON.

    However, Sidochem Industries Limited and its owners are crying foul over the order secured by AMCON against it. They claim that the debts they owe the defunct bank was amongst the matters resolved in the plea bargain judgment in Dr. Cecilia Ibru’s case.
    In support of the company’s claim are two deeds of ratification brought by both Sidochem Industries and Mr. Edgar Sido whereby they wholly transferred and released all of its rights, interests and estate in the assets forfeited to AMCON by Ibru as part of her plea bargain.

    Dr. Iseghohi-Edwards pointed out that AMCON which was well represented by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in her plea bargain agreement and which is the sole beneficiary of all the properties she forfeited had gone ahead to seal off an expanse of rental property completely unrelated to Sidochem’s business on the strength of the ex parte order it obtained from the Lagos court.

    He argued that AMCON did not disclose material facts to the court in Lagos as regards its consent to the plea bargain and settlement agreement where Mrs. Ibru, representing herself, the Ibru group and others, forfeited properties listed under the forfeited assets part of the plea bargain.
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