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Exclusive: Access Bank Goes After Late Sunny Odogwu’s Properties over 50b debt…. …..Insists on collecting every penny of depositors money owed it by Recalcitrant debtors!

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The no-nonsense managers of Access Bank led by Hubert Wigwe have gone after the properties of Late Chief Sony Odogu over a debt of 50Billion Naira.

We gathered reliably that the debt was originally over 26Billion but since 2015, it has spiraled up to 50Billion and the managers of the bank have commenced the process of getting every penny of the depositor’s funds from the Late Socialite family.

For some time now, the families have been playing hide and seek with the bank but at the weekend the bank moves to seize some of the assets in Ikoyi Lagos.

Access Bank Plc last week commenced the process of recovering the outstanding sums due it from a total of over N50 billion judgment debts in its favor against the late Chief Sunny Odogwu and two of his companies – Robert Dyson & Diket Limited and SIO Property Limited.

The said judgment debt was in respect of a property situated on No. 31 – 35, Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos State, known as Luxury Collection Hotels and Apartments (formerly Le Meridien Grand Towers).
The said property owned by SIO Property Limited of which the late Odogwu was the majority shareholder, was financed with a loan from the then Diamond Bank, which is now Access Bank.

Justice Saliu Saidu of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court in suit number: FHC/L/CS/1633/14, had in November 3, 2015, found the late Odogwu and his companies guilty of breach of Bank-Customer Relationship and consequently ordered the sale of the property used as collateral for the loan sum of N26,229,943,035.22.

However, with a 20 per cent interest on the N26 billion judgment debt in the last six years the judgment was delivered, the total debt has now reason to over N50 billion.

The bank had in 2014, commenced legal action against the defendants at a Federal High Court, Lagos, following the failure of the defendants to meet their loan obligations granted in the financing of the Le Meridien Grand Towers, known as Luxury Collection Hotels and Apartments.

While Access Bank was the sole plaintiff; Robert Dyson & Diket Limited, SIO Property Limited, Odogwu, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) the Registrar of Title Federal Land Registry and Leadway Trustee Limited were the first to sixth defendants respectively.

Plaintiff in arguing its case had placed plethora of evidence before the court on how it granted various credit facilities to the 1st and 2nd defendants to finance the construction of the Luxury Collection Hotels and Apartments.
Plaintiff added that the various facilities were at various times restructured to ease the repayment of the loan facility but the 1st to 3rd defendants continue to refused or failed to meet their obligations, stating that the project site located at 31-35 Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos and the Personal Guarantee of the late Chief Sonny Odogwu were used as collaterals for the facility.

Among the 20 reliefs sought by the plaintiff then was that whether having regards to plaintiff’s colossal investment/ financing of the sum of N26 billion in the 1st to 3rd defendants project and by the various agreements entered between plaintiff and the 1st to 3rd defendants to create a legal mortgage in favour of the plaintiff, a beneficial owner of the property on No 31 – 35 Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos State, and the breach of the terms of the agreement by the 1st to 3rd defendants, the plaintiff is entitled to leave of court to foreclose and sell the affected property.
“Whether having regard to the failure, refusal and or neglect of the 3rd defendant to execute the deed of personal guarantee as agreed as agreed with the plaintiff on November 19, 2010 as part security of the cumulative sum of facility advanced to the 1st to 3rd defendants for the project at 31 -35 Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos State which now stands at N26 billion as at September 30, 2014, order an order of specific performance can be made to compel the 3rd defendant to execute the said deed of personal guarantee in favour of the plaintiff within two days of this court.”
Delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Saidu held that the first to third defendants were in fundamental breach of the contract for the financing of the construction of the Luxury Collection Hotels and Apartments, having admitted “Indebtedness to the plaintiff in the sum of N10, 252,315,567.28 on the project finance facility as at December 20, 2011.”

The judge stated that where there was an admission of indebtedness by a party, the court could make an order for the sum admitted to be paid.

“The following is very clear from the totality of evidence before me; that there are facilities granted and disbursed….the facts of these facilities were admitted in paragraphs 8, 10, 11, 13,14, 15, 16 and 17 of the counter affidavit.

“I have not seen anywhere in the pleadings of the 1st to 3rd defendants that they did not enter the contract as shown in exhibit DB3 with the agreed collateral being a third-party legal mortgage on the parcel of land located at No 31 – 35 Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos State”, the court held.

In addition, the judge said the first to third defendants have not produced before the court any evidence that any of the conditions for the grant of the facility was waived or demonstrated to the court how they liquidated their indebtedness.

“With all the facts before me, I am satisfied that the first to third defendants who have admitted indebtedness has not shown how the indebtedness was liquidated.

“There are four probable methods of answering an allegation of indebtedness which are to admit the debt, deny the debt, to counter-claim against the debt and to set off against the debt. From all the facts before me the 1st to 3rd defendants have only admitted the debt but have not shown how the admitted indebtedness was liquidated.

“When the 1st to 3rd defendants have failed to liquidate their debt, the court has a duty the duty to order specific performance on the part of the 1st to 3rd defendants to honour their pledge in the contract. The 3rd defendant had through the 2nd defendant pledged to execute a third-party legal mortgage in favour of the plaintiff as shown in the documentary evidence before this court.

“This court therefore has the power to grant an equitable relief of specific performance against the 1st to 3rd defendants to do what they have agreed to do by the contract”, he added.
Justice Saidu accordingly made the following consequential order: “Judgment is entered in the sum of N26, 229,943,035.22 jointly and severally against the 1st to 3rd defendants being the outstanding sum as at September 30, 2014 advanced by the plaintiff for the 1st to 3rd defendants project which sum has remained unpaid despite several demands.

“That leave is granted to the plaintiff to foreclose and sell the said property situated at 31 – 35 Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos and to deposit the proceed of the sales into the 1st defendant’s account kept with the plaintiff towards the partial satisfaction of the judgment sum against the 1st to 3rd defendants.

“That leave is granted the plaintiff with the supervision of the Court’s Registrar to sell property situated at No 31 – 35 Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos being the security for the sum of N26, 229,943,035.22 advanced by the plaintiff to the 1st to 3rd defendants for the development of the project called Luxury Collections Hotels and Apartments, the repayment of which facility, the 1st to 3rd defendants have failed, refuse otherwise neglected to make despite several demands.

“The 3rd defendant is hereby ordered to execute the said deed of personal guarantee of the sum of N26, 229,943,035.22 in favour of the plaintiff within 30 days of the judgment of this court.”

The judge in addition restrained the 3rd defendant from disposing, selling or alienating any of his personal assets, money, shares, stock and any of his negotiable instruments until the sum of N26, 229,943,035.22 owed to the plaintiff by the 1st to 3rd defendants is fully paid.

The court also ordered the sixth defendant to pay to the plaintiff the sum of N49 million being money it had and recovered for a consideration that as failed.

The sixth defendant was further ordered to surrender all the title documents in its custody in relation to the said property and other documentation connected and or pertaining to the extant transaction of which the plaintiff is the beneficiary.

Not satisfied with the Judgment of the Court, the Defendants appealed to the Court of Appeal in Appeal No. CA/L/1151/2015, but while the case was pending at the Court of Appeal, the late Chief Sonny Odogwu died, and his numerous children attempted to dissipate the various assets charged to the bank including the property located at 31-35 Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos that the Court has ordered to be sold.

The bank was constrained to takes steps to restrain the beneficiaries of the estate of the late Odogwu from dissipating the various assets acquired by depositors’ funds which ultimately led to settlement discussions between the Bank and the beneficiaries of the estate of the late Sonny Odogwu and subsequent execution of Settlement Agreements.

Rather than comply with the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the beneficiaries of the estate and children of late Odogwu have willfully and persistently refused to comply with the terms of settlement reached with the Bank. They have resorted to dissipating the assets which were pledged to the Bank and have breached the consent judgment made by the Federal High Court.

For instance, under the consent judgment, the defendants were required to sell the property in Los Angeles, USA within 60 days from 30th of May, 2019 or otherwise assign their interest in the property to the Bank. The defendants have failed to meet this condition and have rather compromised their interest in the property without regards to the consent judgment.

Subsequently, the bank as beneficial owner under the Judgment has taken steps to sell the property situate at 31-35 Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos to a new owner.

Unfortunately, the beneficiaries of the estate of the late Odogwu and other unknown persons who have been parading the property have promised to disrupt any takeover of the property.

Based on the foregoing and in order to safe guard depositors’ funds, the bank is determined to recover the outstanding sums due from the defendants and enforce the judgment of the Federal High Court.

 

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PDP NWC Rejects Wike’s Demands, reiterates confidence in Ayu – Official

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee has rejected the demand 

by Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State for the removal of Senator Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s national chairman. 

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, made this known on Thursday at the party’s headquarters in Wadata Plaza, Abuja.

The leadership of the chairman was ratified in a vote of confidence despite disputations from some sections of the party and yearnings for him to step aside as the national chairman.

Wike met with some PDP serving, former governors, and other party stakeholders on Sunday.

The Rivers governor has been in disagreement with the party’s flag-bearer, Atiku Abubakar, in the fallout of the party’s special convention last May and the subsequent nomination of the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as the party’s vice-presidential running mate.

The development didn’t go well with the Rivers State governor and his camp, prompting calls for the chairman of the party to step aside, including the reorganisation of the executive arm of the party.

However, barely 24 hours after setting up a committee by the party’s Board of Trustees to wade into the disagreement between Atiku and Wike, the duo reportedly met at the residence of Jerry Gana, a pundit of the party.

According to the outcome of the meeting, Debo stated that the PDP has resolved to “restate confidence in the National Chairman, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, and the National Working Committee NWC in running the affairs of the Party.

The party also “restates confidence in the capacity, experience, and competence of H.E Atiku Abubakar to rescue, redirect and rebuild this country to earn the respect of the international community.”

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EFCC To Quiz Jaiz Bank CEO, Hassan Usman, Others, Over AGF’S Alleged N109bn Fraud

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EFCC will question Hassan Usman, CEO of Jaiz Bank, and others for suspected N109 billion theft by AGF.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, or EFCC, may soon summon Hassan Usman, the managing director of Jaiz Bank Plc, and other senior members of the Islamic bank for questioning regarding their alleged roles in the N109 billion thatAhmed Idris, the disgraced former Accountant General of the Federation, is accused of stealing, according to sources in the commission.

 

Idris, who is currently facing charges from the EFCC along with two other conspirators, Godfrey Olusegun Akindele and Mohammed Kudu, allegedly stole the enormous sums of money by hacking into the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), and smuggled away billions of naira that belonged to the government.

 

The group was last week charged before Justice A. O. Adeyemi Ajayi of the Maitama, Abuja-based Federal Capital Territory High Court.

Investigative work by the EFCC revealed that the former Accountant General had opened bank accounts with an Islamic bank and utilized those accounts to refine his money-laundering techniques.

 

Investigations indicated that the bank was used to launder a sizable amount of money to high government officials at the federal and state levels, while the magazine is unable to determine the extent of some bank employees’ involvement in the crime.

 

According to information obtained by The Source Magazine, the commission is currently working to uncover any shady dealings the former AGoF may have had with some Islamic bank executives, which may have “enabled him to use the bank to launder public monies.” The bank must respond to important queries, according to an EFCC source.

The Accountant General and his accomplices must have chosen Jaiz bank, in order not to draw any suspicion from the public and banking regulators. But it’s now obvious that there’s no hidden place for the bank and greedy government officials who committed the fraud. The EFCC will get to the bottom of the fraud and expose those involved” another EFCC top official said on Tuesday.

“There is a need to question more top officials of the bank apart from the chief executive who must be privy to how and when huge sums of money were moved without deeming it fit to alert constituted authority in the country and EFCC. There’s no way huge sums will be moved without the MD’s knowledge, and we are quite sure these officials are not unaware of the money laundering law,” the official said.

The EFCC claimed that Idris utilized a substantial portion of the stolen money to launch businesses and buy real estate in Kano, where he is from, as well as Abuja and other places.

These properties include, among others, the Kano City Mall, the Gezawa Exchange Limited, and the Gezawa Integrated Farms.

 

A portion of the earnings from the theft were also utilized by the disgraced former accountant general to bribe important members of the state and federal governments, including former governor Abdul’Aziz Yari of Zamfara state, who was at the time the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

 

During the trial last week, an EFCC prosecution witness Hayatu Ahmed, said Idris has accounts with Jaiz Bank which he used to make payments to individuals and companies, including a N280 million he paid into “Gezawa Commodity Market with Jaiz Bank.”

 

Additionally, it was discovered from EFCC sources that the bank was used in a large number of transactions that the disgraced Idris conducted with bureau de change. Several bureau de change in Kano and Abuja were paid via the bank, according to credible proof. The source stated that the dollar equivalent was then collected in cash and afterwards paid directly to people who had benefited from the crime.

 

Giving an overview of the fraud last week, the EFCC witness claimed that three groups shared the stolen money, including members of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), including one of its commissioners, Peace Akomas, a former deputy governor of the Abia State who is accused of collecting N18.8 billion.

The second group is the AGF group, and it got a total sum of N18.01 billion.

 

“The third group, the Commissioners of Finance in the nine oil producing states, received N21.4 billion. The money was withdrawn by Akindele, converted to US dollars, and handed over to Akomas on behalf of the group.

 

“The fourth group is called the Yari group. This group received N17.15 billion. The entirety of the sum was transferred to the account of Fimex Professional Services on the instruction of the representative of this group – Abdul’Aziz Yari, former Zamfara state governor.

 

“The remaining N8.9 billion was retained by the second defendant. Furthermore, N4.29 billion was converted to US dollars by Akindele as appreciation for the consultancy contract, and the balance of N4.6 billion was given to Akindele,” the EFCC witness said in court.

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LIRS Set To Launch Whistle-Blower Initiative August 5

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The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) is set to launch its Whistle-Blower initiative, a state-wide project, introduced to provide a platform for employees, stakeholders and the general public to report any observed violation, misconduct, or unethical behaviour across the state on Friday, August 5, 2022.

 

In a public notice signed by the LIRS Executive Chairman, Ayodele Subair, the Whistle-Blower initiative is a public policy of the State Government to encourage reporting of illegal actions or financial crimes, through the appropriate channel, with a view to correcting the violations or non-compliance.

 

According to the LIRS boss, “In line with the LIRS core values of integrity and accountability and our commitment to uphold the highest standards of openness, probity and accountability in our dealings with stakeholders, the platform is anonymous and confidential and it is independently managed by Deloitte, a globally accredited company.”

 

“The objective of the Whistle-Blower initiative is to guarantee transparency, accountability, and confidentiality to all taxpayers and stakeholders in general.

 

“The policy is designed to protect whistle-blowers from victimization and to encourage them to freely report without fear,” Subair submitted.

 

The launch of the Whistle-Blower initiative is scheduled to take place at the Protea Select Hotel, Assibifi Road, Alausa-Ikeja, Lagos.

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