By Lukman Olabiyi
The Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered businessman, Chief Sunny Odogwu, and his two companies: Robert Dyson & Diet Limited, and SIO Properties Limited to pay N26.2 billion to Diamond Bank Plc for failing to repay a loan obtained from the bank eight years ago.
The court presided by Justice Saliu Saidu also granted leave to Diamond Bank to foreclose and sell ‘Luxury Collection Hotels and Apartments’, formerly Le Meridian Grand Tower, located at 31-35, Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos, belonging to Odogwu.
Co-defendants in the debt recovery suit are Corporate Affairs Commission, (CAC), The Registrar of Title, Federal Land Registry, and Leadway Trustees Limited, as fourth, fifth and sixth defendants respectively.
The plaintiff, (Diamond Bank Plc) had in a suit filed before the court by its lawyer, Oluwakemi Balogun, (SAN), urged the court to compel Odogwu, and his companies to pay N26,229,943,035.22, they obtained from the bank to construct a the above named hotel in Lagos.
Justice Seidu, who had earlier ordered 19 commercial banks in Nigeria not to allow Odogwu and his companies, to withdraw funds from their accounts, in his judgement held that the defendants admitted indebtedness and has not show the court how the indebtedness was liquidated.
The court, therefore perpetually restrained the third defendant from disposing, selling or alienating any of his personal assets, money, share, stock and other negotiable instrument until the judgment sum is fully liquidated.
The plaintiff in an affidavit in support of the suit sworn to by Fanen Shambe, the bank’s Relationship Manager, averred that sometimes in 2007, SIO Properties Limited, and Chief Odogwu, on behalf of Robert Dyson & Diket Limited company, approached the bank and required huge finance to be applied and disbursed as at when due for their project called ‘Luxury Collection Hotels and Apartments’, formerly Le Meridian Grand Tower, to be constructed at 31-35, Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos, in the name of SOI Properties Limited of which Chief Sonny Odogwu is the chairman and beneficial majority owner.
The deponent also averred that Chief Odogwu, convened through the SIO Properties Limited to execute third party legal mortgage in favour of Diamond Bank Plc, over the said property as a security for the facility availed them by the bank and that SIO Properties Limited, by a letter and a board resolution affirmed the said covenant to the bank.