By Olalekan Awojodu
The management of a Lagos-based firm, Suru Worldwide Venture Nigeria Limited, has accused the management of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) of illegal takeover of its hotel in Lagos despite the pending court case.
The Best Western Hotel, which is situated at No. 12 Reverend Ogunbiyi Street, G.R.A, Ikeja, Lagos State is in dispute over a N10bn loan.
The firm in a petition sent to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Petition dated October 21, 2020 by its Managing Director, Mr Edward Akinlade, said Oceanic Bank now Ecobank sold a performing loan amounting to about 10bn to it in 2010.
The petition reads: “That sometimes in 2010, Oceanic Bank now Ecobank surreptitiously sold Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited a performing loan amounting to about Ten Billion Naira(10bn) disbursement from Oceanic Bank to our client, this was presented to AMCON for about Fifteen Billion Naira (15bn) face value with AMCON purchase payment of about Eight Billion Naira (8.5bn).
“This illegal act of Oceanic bank now Ecobank selling a 2010 performing loan to AMCON which is against the AMCON act 2010 is the subject of the Federal High Court in suit no: FHC/L/CS/450/11: between Suru Worldwide Venture Nigeria Limited V. Ecobank PLC & AMCON.
“In spite of the above, we engaged AMCON for settlement and we had an offer of N6.3bn from AMCON in 2015 after paying AMCON over 2.2bn”.
Akinlade alleged that on the 22nd of September 2017, AMCON with the aid of over 100 Mobile Policemen invaded and successfully tear-gassed about 1257 workers of the hotel and sent its over 500 guests away.
He, however, lamented that despite a pending appeal at the Supreme Court, AMCON in a letter dated September 2, 2020, said the firm’s property had been sold, saying that the agency had acted in flagrant breach of the law.
The firm’s MD said: “On the 22nd September 2017, AMCON with the aid of 100 Mobile Policemen invaded and successfully teared gas away about 1,257 workforces out of our hotel with over 500 paying guests.
“The hotel known as Best Western Hotel, Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos, is it because of her highhandedness and insider trading that made the AMCON hell bent on selling our property within themselves.
” Recently, AMCON’s letter dated September 2, 2020, which AMCON addressed to us, in the said letter, AMCON mentioned for the first time that our property situated at No. 12 Reverend Ogunbiyi, G.R.A, Ikeja, Lagos, a subject matter in the suit No:FHC/L/CS/1059/2016, now on appeal to the Supreme Court, at AMCON’s instance, has been purportedly sold.
“AMCON, however, failed to disclose the amount for which it was sold and who the purported buyer is thereby leaving our clients to conjecture. This situation no doubt, speaks volume about this purported sale transaction.
” You may wish to recall the subsisting judgment in Appeal No: CA/L/88/18; Suru Worldwide Venture Nigeria Limited & ANOR V. AMCON & 4 ORS; wherein the Court of Appeal allowed our appeal and set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court of Nigeria rendered in AMCON’s favour in suit no: FHC/L/CS/1059/16.
“AMCON is also not oblivious of the decision of the Federal High Court in suit no: FHC/L/CS/450/11: Between Suru Worldwide Venture Nigeria Limited V. Ecobank PLC & AMCON, wherein the honourable court dismissed AMCON’s claims of our alleged indebtedness. AMCON has also appealed to the Court of Appeal in Appeal no: CA/L/630/18, which is still pending”.
Akinlade, called on the management of AMCON to obey the court order, saying that its action had grounded its hotel and asked it to evacuate policemen that were deployed to its hotel.
However, efforts to speak with the AMCON Spokesperson proved herculean as he neither picked his phone nor reply message sent to him as at the time of going to press.