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Former Intercontinental Bank Director, Wife Battle AMCON Over N7.5billion Debt

Former Intercontinental Bank Director, Wife Battle AMCON Over N7.5billion Debt

A Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned till June 3, 2019 for hearing in the suit instituted by Hyacinth U. F. Enuha, former director, Intercontinental Bank Plc alongside his wife, Carol Chukwudumebi, their company, CINCA Nigeria Limited, against Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON.
While Engineer Enuha, his wife and their company as plaintiffs, are claiming that they are not indebted to AMCON in the sum of N7,500,227,634.61, AMCON alongside Intercontinental Bank that has merged with Access Bank as defendants, are urging the court to dismiss the claims of the plaintiffs as being frivolous, vexatious, and completely unmeritorious and substantial cost should be awarded against the plaintiffs in favour of the defendants.
In a statement of claim filed before the court on behalf of the plaintiffs by a Lagos lawyer, Olatunde Adejuyigbe SAN, the Plaintiffs alleged that in October 2006, CINCA Nigeria Limited applied for and was granted term loan in the sum of N2billion to purchase shares of blue-chip companies in Nigeria.
After fulfillment of the conditions precedent by the company, the loan in the sum of N2billion was utilised by Intercontinental Bank Plc to purchase the shares of blue-chip companies for and on behalf of the company.
By another offer in 2007, the company again applied for and was granted a share loan facility in the sum of N850million. The loan was used to buy 50 million units of Bank PHB shares for and on behalf of CINCA Company.
The bank traded with the shares by selling the shares and received full payment for the sale of the price but failed to disclose any information in respect of the transactions to CINCA Company, as the bank failed to render any account to the company.
The plaintiffs stated that the total amount realized from the sale of the shares was well over N8billion and more than enough to liquidate the credit facilities granted to the company together with the accrued interest thereon.
The Plaintiffs averred further that the purported indebtedness of the company assigned to AMCON by the bank emanated from the manipulation of the proceeds of the company’s shares sold by the bank and for which no account was presented by the bank to the company.
Thereafter, sequel to the spurious and illegal assignment of CINCA’s account to AMCON, the name of CINCA Company was included in the list of Top 100 AMCON debtors published by AMCON and same was given wide circulation in the print and electronic media and on the internet with the name of Engineer Hyacinth Enuha and his wife Carol chukwudumebi Enuha as Directors of the company.
By a letter dated 5th of June 2017 AMCON made a demand on CINCA for the sum of N7,500,227,634.61 which was said to be the indebtedness of CINCA to AMCON.
The plaintiffs contended that the demand made by AMCON on CINCA Company is unlawful, baseless, and unwarranted in that the company is not indebted to AMCON.
Consequently, the Plaintiffs claimed against the defendants jointly and severally are as follows:
• A declaration that the demand made on CINCA by AMCON via its letter of 5th June 2017 for payment of the sum of N7,500,227,634.61 was wrongful, illegal, null and void as same was based on ineffectual and illegal assignment of non-existent indebtedness of the CINCA to AMCON.
• An order restraining AMCON from making further demands on the plaintiffs for the payment of N7,500,227,634.61 or any sum at all.
However, Intercontinental Bank that has now merged with Access Bank in a statement of defence filed before the court by Paul Usoro and Company, while denying almost all the claims of the Plaintiffs alleged that the averments contained in the statement of claim of the plaintiffs are not only falsehoods, but they represented absolute distortion and misrepresentation of facts.
In specific response to the statement of claim of the plaintiffs, the bank alleged that CINCA Company approached defunct Intercontinental Bank PLC and was granted loan in the sum of N2billion for the purpose of financing its capital projects and assets acquisition which the company has willfully failed, refused and neglected to pay till date. The offer was accepted by Engineer Hyacinth Enuha on behalf of the company as its Executive Chairman on 21st of October 2016.
The bank denied that it was responsible howsoever for the utilization of the N2billion as the term of the loan placed the control of the loan firmly in the hands of the company, prior to the application by the company for the loan and subsequent to the disbursement of same the plaintiffs had been involved in several dealings in Intercontinental Bank Plc shares as well as the shares of other companies and these dealings were carried out through their appointed portfolio managers, Intercontinental Securities Limited.
In purchasing IBPLC shares the company took unfair and unethical advantage of privileged insider information it had on shares of the bank through Engineer Hyacinth Enuha who was a director in both IBPLC and CINCA Nigeria Limited Company at the material time.
CINCA company under the control of Engineer Enuha and his wife Carol Chukwudumebi took the advantage of the insider information it had access to about IB PLC’s shares which was bought at very cheap rates and later sold at sums equivalent to more than 300% of the purchase value.
In specific response the bank averred that CINCA Company was granted N850million share loan for the purpose of financing the purchase of 50million of the now defunct Bank PHB shares made available for public subscription. The offer was accepted by Engineer Hyacinth Enuha on behalf of the company as its Executive Chairman on 28th December 2007.
The company did not meet all the conditions precedent to the granting of the loan, but Engineer Hyacinth Enuha, the alter ego of the company, used his status as a Director of IB PLC in ensuring that the N850million share loan was granted without adequate documentation and prior satisfaction of the condition precedent.
Contrary to the plaintiffs conjectures and insinuations there was no chance of the bank disposing off the shares because the plaintiffs invested the N850million share loan in Initial Public offer of Bank PHB using its absolute discretion in such a manner that did not in any way afford the bank any chance of disposing off the shares.
IB PLC was licensed to carry on banking business, therefore does not possess stock broking license and could not have traded in the shares of the company or that any other persons.
Contrary to the erroneous averments in the statement of claim of the plaintiffs, Engineer Enuha and his wife who were at all times in full control and management of CINCA Nigeria Limited’s account by virtue of their being the only signatory to the accounts were privy to all the transactions comprising lodgments and withdrawals made into or from the said account as the transactions were duly authorised by them. Furthermore, Engineer Enuha by virtue of his position as a Director in IB PLC at all times material to this suit had direct access to the company’s account.
By virtue of 23rd of December 2008 roll over consolidation offer, the tenure of repaying the outstanding sum of N2,821,838,736.45 was fixed at six years with 12 months moratorium at 22.5% interest per annum and was to be repaid from the proceeds of sale of shares by the company and other cash flow.
The roll over and consolidation offer was accepted by Engineer Enuha on behalf of the company as its executive Chairman on 30th December 2008.The bank shall at the trial of this suit found and rely on the said offer letter.
Consequent upon the plaintiffs failure, refusal and neglect to pay up their indebtedness and the attendant consequences the said indebtedness portended for the Bank’s financial books same having become non-performing loan, the bank elected to assign the debt to AMCON being the statutory body empowered to procure same.
Consequently, the defendants prayed the court to dismiss the reliefs as set out in the plaintiffs statement of claim as being frivolous, vexatious and completely unmeritorious and award substantial costs against the plaintiffs and in the defendants favour.

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