An Ikeja Special Offences Court has fixed August 17, 2022, to entertain a N407.8 million suit instituted by three businessmen against an old generation financial institution for alleged breach of contract.
The court, presided over by Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo arrived at the date after hearing a Motion Ex-Parte brought by the claimants through their counsel, Chief Fassy Yusuf.
The claimants are Messrs Adedoyin Olasunkanmi, Adewoye Joshua and Onadeko Olusesan trading under the name Adedoyin Dare Enterprises, Yinkus Omo Ade Ventures and Onas T. Olusesan Nigeria Enterprises respectively.
In the course of the proceedings, Chief Yusuf urged the court for an order mandating an urgent hearing of all issues raised in their originating process and accompanying processes filed on behalf of the claimants against the defendant during the judicial vacation.
The counsel equally asked the judge for an order mandating both the defendants to file subsequent pleadings, applications/motions expeditiously to facilitate swift determination of the suit during the vacation and for any other order as may deem fit by the court.
Chief Fassy’s request prompted the court to grant the claimants request for an accelerated hearing and fixed August 17 for the matter to be heard.
According to a 14-paragraph affidavit deposed to in support of the motion ex-parte, Adetokunbo Joshua averred that the contention between the parties brought about by a botched sale, and despicable actions of the defendant is causing the applicants anguish, critical medical illness, psychological and emotional distress, financial distress, family disruption and dislocation and social ostracism making it desirable that the matter be disposed of expeditiously.
He averred that the claimants can neither stay at their homes nor stay in their offices as their creditors and financial contributors are threatening them and demanding the refund of their money and contributions.
They stated that except the matter is heard swiftly, their business, personal and social integrity that are now in dire jeopardy would be completely extinguished and that the process was filed to facilitate accelerated hearing.
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In their statement of claim, the claimants are seeking from the court an order mandating the defendant to refund the sum of N117, 750, 000 being payment made by the claimants to the bank as payment for the goods but which the defendant refused to release to the claimants.
The claimants are also praying for “an order mandating the defendant to refund the sum of N22 million being payment the claimants were made to part with the bank’s Receiver/Manager without meeting the purpose of the payment.
“A declaration that the defendant is indebted to the claimants to the tune of N1.8 million being amount collected from them as miscellaneous payment for the botched and spurious purchase that never existed.
“An order mandating the defendant to refund the sum of N8.7 million being expenses incurred in the botched transaction.”
The claimants are further asking the court for an order mandating the defendant to pay the sum of N57.1 million as special damages for the unpleasant medical, social and psychological trauma endured by the claimants as a result of the cruel action of the defendant and another order mandating the defendant to pay the sum of N200 million as general damages and the cost of N10 million as litigation cost, as well as the payment of 20 per cent interest per annum on the total sum awarded from the date of judgement until final payment is made.
The plaintiffs claimed to have instituted the suit for themselves and on behalf of other stakeholders in the iron, steel and metal scrap sector industry.
They averred that, in the course of their businesses, they were approached by one Mr George from Chidex Nigeria Enterprises, an agent of the Receiver/Manager duly appointed by the bank, who allegedly informed them about the availability in Port Harcourt of iron, steel and metal scraps, and other movable assets to be disposed of by the Receiver/Manager.
They averred that the 1st claimant (Olasunkanmi) being a long-standing customer of the bank immediately called his bank account manager, one Mr Brown, to make enquiries and who confirmed the legitimacy and availability of the goods on the premises of Dec Oil and Gas Limited, Port Harcourt, a company being managed by the bank’s agent.
The claimants averred that upon the confirmation given by Mr Brown, they pooled funds and resources together among themselves and others and transferred a total sum of N117,750, 000 in 12 tranches to the bank on March 1, 2022, for the purchase of the movable items of Dec Oil and Gas Limited – in receivership at Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt.
The businessmen alleged that the bank issued a backdated receipt to read June 14, 2021, whereas payment was made on March 1, 2022, with an addition that a similar backdated receipt was also issued by the bank’s receiver/manager.
They averred that the bank later sent out a letter dated February 16, 2022, through its business support and recovery department, confirming the status of its receiver/manager and that Pryce and Penny Consulting should proceed to conclude the transaction.
The trio of the businessmen averred that they later mobilised men and logistics from Lagos to Port Harcourt and that upon getting to the jetty for evacuation of the movable items, they were prevented from having access to the items purchased and arrested.
The businessmen also added that one Mr Damilare Fasanya, a staff of the receiver/manager was contacted and informed of the development.
The claimants averred that Fasanya asked them to pay an additional N22 million into the account of Pryce and Penny Consulting before they could access and evacuate the items paid for. The businessmen confirmed that the request was later heeded, following which they were allowed to enter the Jetty.
But upon their entry into the Jetty, according to the claimants, they were arrested by the police on March 24, 2022, over allegations of stealing and fraudulent conversion, following which they were locked up and their equipment confiscated.
The claimants averred that they were later told by the police that the items had earlier been sold to another party.
It was added that Damilare Fasanya was also invited by the police, and he was mandated to refund about N12.5 million he collected from the N22 million paid into the account of Pryce and Penny Consulting.
It was also the argument of the claimants that at a meeting with their lawyer, Fasanya apologised for the botched transaction and promised that the bank would make a refund of the amount lost by them. They added that the bank failed and neglected to fulfil the promise.