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N17b debt: 13 banks, 60 officials face contempt charges

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Federal High Court sitting in Lagos will, on June 20, hear contempt proceedings filed by Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) against 13 banks and 60 executives in a suit to recover a N17 billion Anchor Borrowers Programme loan from Afex Commodity Exchange.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke made the order on June 11, 2020, after hearing GTB’s counsel, Ade Adedeji (SAN), with A.О. Olaleye Esq, move a motion ex parte in Suit FHC/L/CS/911/2024.

The judge directed GTB to serve the banks by substituted service through advertisements in The Nation, Punch and ThisDay newspapers.

The bank chiefs include chairmen, managing directorss, directors, company secretaries.

According to the motion, they allegedly failed to implement a May 27 No-Debit-Order reportedly placed on accounts of Afex Commodity Exchange with them.

Justice Aneke held: “… It is hereby ordered as follows: (1) That an order is hereby made granting leave to the plaintiff/applicant to serve Form 48 (Notice of Consequences of Disobedience to Order of Court) dated June 11, 2024 and all other forms and processes that may be issued in this contempt proceedings inclusive of Form 49 on the 1st-60th parties cited for contempt.

“That the suit is hereby adjourned to June 20 for hearing of the contempt proceedings.’’

In the May 27 ruling, 20 banks were directed to transfer money standing to the credit of the respondent into AFEX’s account with GTB until the N17.81 billion is fully repaid.

The N17.81 billion loans comprise N15.77 billion; the outstanding as of April 17, and cost of recovery and incidental expenses put at N2.04 billion.

The court also granted an injunction allowing GTB to take over AFEX 16 warehouses in seven states and sell the commodities in them, which it said were procured with Central Bank of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers’ loan facility.

Earlier in the month, the court served contempt proceedings on AFEX and some officers, including Ayodele Balogun, Jendayi Fraaser, Justin Topilow, Mobolaji Adeoye and Koonal Ghandi.

The plaintiffs averred that AFEX sourced the Anchor Borrowers Programme Loan facility from GTB to provide finance for smallholder farmers registered under the CBN Anchor Borrower’s programme.

The loan was expected to be repaid from the sale of commodities. However, AFEX failed to uphold its end of the deal even after an extension.


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