Friday, 14 August, 2020

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5.4 billion Naira case: Eco bank to settle with oil companies


An oil firm, Sahara Group Limited and its sister company on Friday told the Federal High Court in Lagos that it had begun settlement talks with Ecobank  Nigeria Limited over a $14million (about N5.4billion) debt case.

Their lawyer, Mr Bode Olanipekun (SAN), told Justice Rilwan Aikawa that discussions were ongoing.

He said: “We agreed that the court should grant a short adjournment to see if we are able to reach an amicable agreement.”

Ecobank’s lawyer, Mr Kunle Ogunba (SAN) of Insolvency Forte, confirmed the development.

“That is very accurate,” he said.

Justice Aikawa adjourned until July 10 for a report of settlement or hearing of pending motions.

Ecobank had asked the court to enter a summary judgment in its favour against the firms.

Ogunba sought the hearing of his pending motion for judgment for the sum of $9,125,119.34, which he said the firms admitted owing.

Sahara Energy Resources Limited, Isle of Man, and Sahara Group Limited had prayed for an order stopping Ecobank from carrying out a “unilateral review of interest rates” on loans they obtained.

The bank filed a counter-claim, insisting that it “reserves the right to review its interest rates from time to time in line with prevailing market conditions.”

The bank claimed that based on computation, the firms owed it $14,069458.30 “being the principal sum and interest due to the counter-claimant as of 21st August, 2019.”

Ecobank said though the companies offered to pay it $9,125,119.34 “as a full and final settlement of their indebtedness,” it remained firm in its demand for $14,069,458.30 as their debt as of August 21, 2019.

The bank urged the court to, in the meantime, order the firms to pay the $9,125,119.34, which they admitted owing “after the joint reconciliation carried out by parties.”

Credit: The Nation

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