Court Orders Former Minister’s Sons to Pay NERFUND N61.057m

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered promoters of Bakrad International Limited and children of former Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Zainab Maina, to pay the sum of N61.057 million to the National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND) as outstanding principal loan and accrued 13.50 per cent interest of loan granted them to finance a business.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed gave the order in a judgment he delivered in a suit brought against the defendants by the NERFUND.

NERFUND filed a suit against Bakrad International Limited before the court and joined the children of Hajia Maina, Mr. Umar and Rahinatu Maina, as the first and second defendants respectively.

The plaintiff in the suit No:/FHC/ABJ/CS/742/2015, sought to recover from defendants a loan amounting to the sum of N61,057,123.06 being the outstanding principal loan and the accrued 13.50 per cent interest granted them to finance and carry out their table water and juice production business some time ago.

According to NERFUND, “The customer did not make any payment and it appears the former minister used her influence while in office to obtain the loan for a company she and her children have interest. She frustrated the perfection of the pledged assets, and nothing was paid on the account till date. This is one of the facilities that grounded the operations of NERFUND, made it insolvent and led to the job loss for over 30 workers of the agency in December 2016.”

After considerations of arguments of parties in the suit which lasted several months, Justice A.R. Mohammed while delivering judgment, directed the defendants to pay NERFUND N61.057 million as agreed upon by both parties during the transaction.

According to Justice Mohammed, the defendants failed to put forward any defence to the plaintiff’s action, hence the plaintiff is entitled to the judgment of the court.

The judge, therefore, held that judgment is entered in favour of the plaintiff against the defendants in the suit.

“Since I have earlier held that the defendants have not given any defence to the plaintiff’s claim on the merit, the plaintiff is entitled to judgement of the court. I therefore make the following orders: judgement is hereby entered in favour of the plaintiff against the defendants in this suit.

“The defendants are hereby directed jointly and severally to pay the plaintiff the sum of N61, 057, 123. 06, being the outstanding principal loan and the accrued 13.50 per cent interest agreed on the principal loan as at June 8, 2015,” the judgement read in parts.

Earlier, in the plaintiff’s writ of summons deposed to by a staff of NERFUND, Sanusi A. Ramalan, averred that the defendants have refused to sign and/or returned three engrossed tripartite deed of legal mortgage alongside three copies of irrevocable power of attorney given by Mallam Umar Joji Maina in favour of NERFUND which was earlier forwarded to them for execution.

According to NERFUND, the property was used as collateral to secure the loan vide a letter dated January 9, 2013, and was acknowledged by Umar Maina on January 10, 2013.

The court held that the first defendant, Bakrad International Limited, is an incorporated limited liability company under the Companies and Allied Matters Acts, and as a project holder/promoter and the second and third defendants are in charge of the first defendant in dealing with plaintiff.

It also held that the defendants approached the NERFUND with a written request for working capital loans on the December 22, 2011, and that the second and third defendants as directors of the first defendant applied for the said loan and also personally entered into guarantees on April 2, 2012, for the repayment