Alleged N156bn Debt: Court Fixes December 22 for Ruling on UBA, Stallion Group’s Suit

Alleged N156bn Debt: Court Fixes December 22 for Ruling on UBA, Stallion Group’s Suit

Wale Igbintade

A Lagos High Court has fixed December 22, for ruling in a suit filed by United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc against Stallion Group of Companies, over alleged debt of N156 billion.

Justice Akintayo Aluko fixed the date after taking arguments on different applications filed by parties in the suit.
It would be recalled that Justice Aluko had on October 20 ordered UBA Plc to take over the assets of Stallion Nigeria Limited and its subsidiaries in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Kano, due to the alleged indebtedness.

Some of the company’s assets affected by the order were: Mortgaged property known as “all that piece or parcel of land together with any building thereon” at Plot 371, Trans Amadi Industrial Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“Plot 353, Trans Amadi Industrial Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers State; Plot 370, Trans Amadi Industrial Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers State; KM17, Lagos Badagry Expressway, Lagos State; and No. 54, Challawa Industrial Estate, Kano State, Nigeria.”

Also, the company’s funds totalling N156,026,032,804.84 in commercial, microfinance, and other financial institutions across the country.
The judge made the order while granting an ex-parte application filed by the bank’s lawyer, Temilolu Adamolekun.

In urging the court for the orders, while moving the ex-parte motion, Adamolekun, supported his claim with an affidavit deposed to by Mr. Anthony Chilaka.
Defendants/respondents in the suit are; Stallion Nigeria Limited (in receivership), Von Automobile Nigeria Limited, Popular Farms And Mills Limited, Havana Nigeria Limited, KRBL Food Industries Limited, Qingqi Motorcycle Manufacturing Limited, Stallion Auto Keke Limited, Stallion Motors Limited, The Honda Place Limited, Yokohama Construction Limited and Mr. Sunil Vaswani.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Friday, the defendants’ lawyers, Wahab Shittu and Mr. Joseph Mbadugha, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) in their separate applications, urged the court to vacate the ex-parte order and to strike out the entire suit, for lack of jurisdiction.
The two senior lawyers, while citing a plethora of legal authorities, stated that the receiver/manager cannot institute the suit in his name, adding that if the receiver/manager must institute the suit in his name, he must first seek leave of court.

They argued that the applicants failed to register the mortgage with the Corporate Affair Commission (CAC), within 90 days, and that there is no evidence attached to the summon when the Deed of Mortgage was delivered to CAC.

They therefore urged the court to hold that the applicants/plaintiffs’ suit is incompetent and to set aside the ex-parte order granted on October 20, 2023.
In his response, the applicants/plaintiffs’ lawyer, Adamolekun, while moving his counter-affidavit to the defendants’ preliminary objection to the suit, argued that the defendant’s objection was extraneous and urged the court to dismiss the same.
Adamolekun said the authority cited by the respondents was different from the suit against them. He stated that the receiver/manager on the authority cited was appointed over the company.

He also stated that the respondents/defendants’ motion to set aside the ex-parte order was different because they did not look at the exhibit that made the court grant the order.

Justice Aluko after taking arguments from parties adjourned the matter till December 22 for ruling on all applications.

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