The former chairman of defunct Intercontinental bank Dr Raymond Obieri, who was once the President of Nigeria Stock Exchange has instituted a N535,500,000 suit against TrustBond Mortgage Bank Plc, for alleged harassment, intimidation and blackmail.
In a statement of claim filed before a Federal high court in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria by a Lagos lawyer Dr Oladapo Olanipekun (SAN), the plaintiff alleged thus, that Trustbond Mortgage Bank Plc formerly known as Intercontinental Homes (Savings and Loan) Limited made investment in the sum of N752.5 million plus interest of N93.1 million being a total sum of N845.6 million in Summit Capital and Asset management limited Company by way of placement, as at the time of the placement Dr Obieri was both a Director in Intercontinental Homes (Savings and Loans) Plc (now TrustBond Mortgage Bank Plc) and Summit Finance company (later renamed Summit Capital and Asset Management Limited).
Dr Obieri who is currently the Chairman of Harmony Trust and Investment Limited, alleged further that Summit Capital and Asset Management Limited then advanced loan facilities to members of staff of Intercontinental Bank Plc to acquire shares in various companies, the loan exceeded N845.6 million advanced to Summit Capital and Asset Management by way of placement.
The loan granted to the staff of Intercontinental Bank Plc were never repaid. It was discussed during a meeting of the board of Directors of Summit Capital and Assets Management held on 29 October 2013 that the company be voluntarily wound up and a liquidator Mr Donald Agu was appointed by the company for that purpose.
Further to the above, the debt owed to Intercontinental Homes (Saving and Loans) Limited was set off against the debt owed by Intercontinental Bank Plc staff, both debts were consequently written off being group related debts.
The decision was taken in good faith considered to be most logical and prudent step to take in the circumstances as both Intercontinental Bank Plc and Intercontinental Homes (Saving and Loans) Limited being group and connected companies.
Dr Obieri averred further that, sometimes in 2017, TrustBond Mortgage Bank Plc singled him out for intimidation via a letter dated 7th November.
The bank threatened to issue petition against him to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and Attorney General of Federation AGF and to institute criminal proceedings against him on unfounded claims and bogus charges if he failed to meet its demands.
Dr Obieri while demanding for the sums, of N500 million as general damages N10 million as special damages, N15 million as exemplary damages, N10.5 million as the cost of this suit urged the court to restrain the bank and it’s agents from making any demands for any sum from him and from further harassing and intimidating him.
However in a statement of defence and counter-claim filed before the court on behalf of TrustBond bank Plc by a Lagos lawyer Barrister Edoka Dox Onyeke, the bank while denying almost all the claim of Dr Obieri alleged that prior to the deliberate act of Dr Obieri’s participation in liquidation of his own company, Summit Capital and Asset Management Limited, he was the majority shareholder and alter ego of the company, and his company was indebted to the Trustbond Mortgage Bank Plc to the tune of N983,633,559.49 as at 27 March 2012 which indebtedness he wilfully and maliciously omitted from the statement of asset and liability of his company filed with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC in Abuja prior to obtaining the consent of the CAC to the voluntary wound-up of his company Summit Capital and Asset Management Limited.
The bank denies any role in relation to the advancement or grant of any loan facilities in excess of the sum of N845.6 million by the plaintiff company to members of Staff of Intercontinental Bank Plc particularly as it relates to the reference made by the plantiff to the meeting of his company’s board of Directors which did not deliberate on any agenda in relation to the loans granted by his company to members of staff of Intercontinental Bank Plc.
The bank alleged further that when it applied to CAC for documentation filed by the liquidator appointed by Dr. Obieri’s company to carry out the voluntary wound up of the plaintiff’s company, it became aware that Dr. Obieri as a director of Summit Capital and Asset Management was involved in the placement investment that resulted in the debt owed Trustbond Mortgage Bank.
The bank also discovered that Dr Obieri also participated in board meeting where the indebtedness of his company to the defendant was deliberated but willfully and fraudulently omitted he debt owed the Trustbond Mortgage Bank from the statement of asset and liabilities of his company when it sought liquidation and deliberately gave false Information to the effect that former staff of the Trustbond Mortgage bank were indebted to his company, via an insertion in the statement of asset and liabilities filed with CAC that former Intercontinental Homes staff were indebted to his company to the tune of N1,095,567,609.
The liquidation of Summit Capital and Asset Management Limited did not follow the due process of law as claimed by the Dr. Obieri as the plantiff who was the prime mover and majority shareholders and alter ego of the company took deliberate and wilful steps to provide the liquidator with false information.
Trustbond averred that having failed to persuade Dr Obieri to see the severity of consequences of his action, led to a monumental loss of the sum of N983,633,559.49 being the sum owed the Trustbond Mortgage Bank by his liquidated company as at 27 March, 2018.
The bank was therefore constrained to lodge a formal complain with EFCC in a petition dated 14th December 2017, complaining about the act of criminal misfeasance and fraudulent misrepresentation in the statement of asset and liabilities filed with CAC, and investigation had commenced into the allegation by EFCC.
Consequently, the mortgage bank is counter-claiming in the sum of N983,633,559.42k and N5 million as general damages and N5 million as cost of defending this legal action.
The mortgage bank is urging the court to grant judgement in its favour.