Alleged Debt: Court order Diezani’s associates’ assets freeze

A Federal High Court in Lagos has granted the Federal Government injunctions freezing assets and funds in and outside the country traced to two Nigerian businessmen, Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore, as well as their companies – Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited (AEDC), Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited (AEBD).

According to The Nation, Omokore and Aluko are accused of benefiting from some shady transactions with the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

They are also said to be indebted to the government to the tune of $1.8 billion.

Justice O. O. Oguntoyinbo, in an ex-parte ruling, granted mareva injunctions restraining the duo from dealing with the funds in some local and foreign banks and assets in Nigeria and abroad, pending the determination of a substantive suit filed by the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The suit marked FHC/L/CS/701/2016 was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN), who also argued the ex-parte motion for injunctions on May 24.

Listed as defendants in the case are Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited (AEDC), Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited (AEBD), Olajide Omokore and Kolawole Aluko.

Justice Oguntoyinbo, in the ruling, restrained the defendants, themselves, agents, directors, among others, “from giving any instruction demanding, accepting or receiving payment from banks and other companies listed as In Re: 1 – 34 on the face of the motion paper and or giving any sale or transfer instruction, demanding, accepting or receiving any payment or sale or dividend on the shares owned by the defendants, their servants, agents, privies, sister companies, their nominees in the aforesaid companies and or persons listed as In Re: 28 -39 on the face of the motion on notice filed herein.”

The banks and companies listed in the motion include Access, Citi Bank, Diamond, Eco Bank Nigeria, Fidelity Bank, First Bank, First City Monument Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Heritage Bank, Keystone Bank, Skye Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Standard Chartered Bank, Sterling Bank, Union Bank, United Bank for Africa, Unity Bank, Wema Bank, Zenith Bank (local banks).

The off shore financial institutions are BNP Paribas (Switzerland), LGT Bank (Switzerland), Standard Chartered Bank (London),Barclays Bank (London), Standard Energy (Voduz, Switzerland), HSBC (London), Corner Bank (Lugano, Switzerland) and Deutsche Bank (Geneva).

The companies include Mia Hotels Ltd, First Motors Ltd, V.I. Petrochemical Ltd, Evergreen Realty & Management, Ox Trade Ltd, De First Union Integrated Services, Amity Plus Ltd and Seven Energy International Ltd.

The affected companies and persons listed as In Re: 28 – 39, in the motion papers are Mia Hotels Ltd, First Motors Ltd, V.I. Petrochemical Ltd, Oxtrade Ltd, De First Union Integrated Services, Amity Plus Ltd, Seven Energy International Ltd, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited (AEDC), Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited (AEBD), Olajide Omokore and Kolawole Aluko.

Justice Oguntoyinbo also ordered and directed some local banks ”listed as In Re: 1 – 9 on the face of the motion paper to sequestrate, within 7 days of the receipt and or service of this order, any and or all the sums of money and negotiable instruments standing to the credit of the defendants, their servants, agents, privies, nominees, whether natural or artificial, up to the plaintiffs’/applicants’’ claim against the defendants in the sum of $1.762,338,184.40 only, and deep same in an interest yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of this court as trustee of same, pending the determination of the motion on notice filed herein.”

The affected banks include Access Bank, Citi Bank, Diamond Bank, Eco Bank Nigeria, Fidelity Bank, First Bank, First City Monument Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank and Heritage Bank.

The judge further stated, in the ruling, an enrolled copy of which The Nation obtained yesterday, “that by an order of mareva injunction of this honourable court, the defendant, by themselves, their directors, officers, agents, servants, privies, trustees, nominees, proxies, subsidiaries, sister companies, related companies, or otherwise any other person, natural or artificial, however called, within and outside Nigeria, are hereby restrained from giving any instruction, demanding, accepting, receiving payments and/ or transacting, transferring, mortgaging or howsoever dealing in any manner, with assets of the defendants in both houses and land in Abuja and Lagos, and others located outside Nigeria listed below.”

The affected houses overseas include: 775 Sarbonne Road, Los Angeles; 952 North Alphine Drive, Los Angeles; 815 Cima Del Mundo, Los Angeles, 1049 Fifth Avenue, New York, 1948 & 1952 Tollis Avenue, Santa Barbara; 157 West 57th Street, New York, 4100 Le Reve, Dubai ; and Grove End Road, London.

Those in Nigeria are Avenue Towers, Lagos, Nigeria; Colina D’oro, Montagnola, Switzerland; Block A consisting of 26 flats at No. 46 Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; Mason Apartments situated at No. 6 Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos comprising 60 units of three-bedroom apartments; Marion Apartments Block 8 located at 4 &5 Onikoyi Estate, Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos consisting of 43 units of apartments; 334 Cooper Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; 8 Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Also listed are plots of land identified as “807 Cima Del Mundo and Mont Tremblant, Canada.” Also affected by the order are asset listed in court documents as “other holdings.” They include: ”Galactica Star (Yacht); 20 year berth lease – Barcelona; Watch collection; Car collections (58 vehicles); Aeroplane-Global Express S5-GMG; Aeroplane-Bombardier Global 6000 9H-OPE and Aeroplane Bombardier.”

Justice Oguntoyinbo directed the service of the orders on parties affected, “including and in particular, the persons listed In Re: 1 – 34 on the face of the motion paper by way of substituted means to wit: advertisement in newspapers circulating within and outside the Federal republic of Nigeria.

The judge ordered that the defendants be put on notice of the pending motion on notice for an interlocutory order of mareva injunction and adjourned to June 13, 2016 at 1pm for hearing of the pending motion.

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