By AMECHI OGBONNA
A detachment of armed policemen and bailiffs of the Federal High Court, at the weekend took possession of a high rise building on 43A, Afribank Street, Victoria Island, Lagos owned by businessman-lawyer, Wale Babalakin. The action, according to a statement from the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), was in execution of interim orders granted by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke against Roygate Properties Limited believed to be owned by Babalakin.
The orders were sequel to an ex-parte application filed by the AMCON in a suit marked: FHC/L/CS/1501/2012. Copies of the orders made on February 5 were conspicuously pasted on the gates of the VI house. Justice Aneke granted AMCON “interim possession of the property at 43A” Afribank Street, pursuant to a tripartite legal mortgage registered on October 14, 2010 between Roygate (the borrower) , Stabilini Visioni Limited (surety/mortgagor) and Guaranty Trust Bank (the lender.)
The court also granted AMCON similar possession over properties at Plots 270 and 273 Trans Amadi Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The court restrained Roygate, its directors, subsidiaries and sister companies from transferring or dealing with any of its funds in 20 banks listed in the application, or anywhere else up to the N13.5billion allegedly owed by the company. Justice Aneke restrained the banks from allowing Roygate “operate any bank accounts” held by it in the banks.
The court ordered the banks to serve on AMCON lawyers, within seven days of the service of the order on them, “an affidavit disclosing the respondent’s (Roygate’s) balance on accounts held with the said banks jointly and severally as at the date of the order.” Justice Aneke also ordered the Nigeria Police Force to assist in the enforcement of the orders, which he held, should subsist pending the determination of the substantive suit.
The Hon. Justices Aneke set February 19 as the return date’ Just few months ago, similar order was given to AMCON to take possession of some property and assets owned by one of its debtors, Tonique Oil Services Limited. The corporation executed the said orders on Tonique Oil’s premises in Ikoyi and Gbagada, Lagos State, with the assistance of law enforcement agents, lawyers and court bailiffs. AMCON had previously reiterated its commitment to ensure the resolution of all Non-Performing Loans purchased in accordance with the AMCON Act.