Hearing in a suit by Sterling Bank Plc against Senator Stella Oduah and her firm, Sea Petroleum and Gas Company Ltd, was stalled Thursday at the Federal High Court in Lagos due to Justice Ayokunle Faji’s absence
The suit, which was adjourned until November 8, was earlier adjourned for hearing of all pending applications, but the judge was said to be on an official assignment.
The bank said Oduah and her firms owe it $16.4million and N100.5 million.
The matter was initially before Justice Abdulaziz Anka before it was transferred to Justice Faji
Justice Anka had in March restrained Senator Oduah and Sea Petroleum and Gas from making any withdrawals from its account and those of three other companies in 21 banks.
The other firms affected by the order are Sea Shipping Agency Ltd, Rotary Engineering Services Ltd and Tour Afrique Company Ltd.
The order followed an affidavit deposed to by Sterling Bank’s business manager Mr Segun Akinsanya.
The bank said it granted a lease /Cabotage Vessel Finance Facility (CVFF) to Sea Petroleum and Gas to finance one unit 5,000 MT tanker vessel..
According to the bank, the loan was secured by an unconditional personal guarantee by Princess Oduah.
The bank said the guarantee was backed by a statement of her net worth, legal mortgage of two properties worth N135 billion, and a power of attorney.
According to the bank, between June 27, 2013, Sea Petroleum requested and was granted additional loan of $450,000 for post-delivery expenses, as well as $993,000 to meet the requisite conditions in securing the tanker’s release.
Akinsanya said despite several reminders and demands, the defendants failed to liquidate the indebtedness which culminated to $16.4million and about N100.5million as at last November.
He said there was an imminent risk of the defendants dissipating the companies’ assets if not restrained.
The bank, therefore, urged the court to grant the order restraining Oduah and other directors of the companies from withdrawing from their accounts in all the banks pending the determination of the debt recovery suit.
Oduah and her companies have urged the court to discharge the order.