A Federal High Court, Abuja has ordered Senator Victor Umeh to pay about N136 million to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) over his unpaid bank loan.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgement in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/AMC/12/2022, also ordered Umeh, who represents Anambra Central Senatorial District, to pay the debt along with the accrued interest.
Justice Ekwo, who declared that Umeh was actually indebted to AMCON, issued an order directing the forfeiture of Umeh’s 5,000,000 units of Skye Bank shares in the records of the Central Securities and Clearing System to AMCON.
The judge also awarded a cost of N2 million in favour of AMCON and against Umeh.
AMCON filed the suit against the lawmaker who is currently the Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora.
While AMCON was the claimant, Umeh was the sole defendant in the case.
AMCON had told the court that Umeh got a loan of N23,250,000.00 from the now defunct Skye Bank in January 2008 “to enable him invest in and purchase shares of a financial institution in Nigeria.”
According to the claimant, the tenor of the credit facility granted the defendant was specifically fixed for 356 days.
“The offer letter contained various other explicit terms and conditions which the defendant accepted by duly executing the memorandum of acceptance.
“The defendant utilised the funds granted to him as credit facility by the bank.
“However, at the expiration of the tenor of the facility, the defendant failed and neglected to liquidate the credit facility as per the contract,” it said.
AMCON stated that it later acquired the unpaid debt when Skye Bank became unsuccessful in making Umeh to repay.
It said that its suit was to recover the debt which stood at N135, 722, 303.40k as at April 2011.
Delivering the judgement, Justice Ekwo observed that despite being served with court documents in relation to the case, Umeh failed to file any response or make any effort to enter a defence.
“It is to be noted at this point that the defendant, upon being served, failed to enter a defence is this case.
“It is trite law that the net effect of the failure of a defendant to file pleadings is that the assertions of the claimant in his pleadings stand unchallenged and are deemed admitted and established.
“It is also trite that the effect of a defendant’s failure to call evidence in defence of the claims against him at the trial is that he is presumed to have admitted the case made against him by the claimant,” he said.
The judge added that despite Umeh’s failure to file a defence, the plaintiff was able to prove its case through the evidence it presented.
He held that by the evidence presented by the plaintiff, “the indebtedness of the defendant has been proved.
He said he found that the plaintiff had established its case by preponderance of evidence as required by law.
“Consequently, judgement is entered per terms as follows:
“A declaration is hereby made that the defendant is indebted to the plaintiff, in the sum of N135,722,303.40 representing the principal debt sum plus all the accrued interest and charges, at the rate of 15 per cent per annum drawn up to 25th January, 2021, being the sum due and outstanding from the defendant to the plaintiff.
“A declaration is hereby made mandating the defendant to pay to the plaintiff the sum of N135,722,303.40 representing the principal debt sum, plus all the accrued interest and charges, at the rate of 15 per cent per annum drawn up to 25th January 2021, in settlement of the debt due and outstanding from the defendant to the plaintiff.
“An order is hereby made mandating the defendant to pay the plaintiff a sum representing 15 per cent of the principal sum, as interest on the judgement sum, from 26th January, 2021, till the date of delivery of judgement.
“An order is hereby made mandating the defendant to pay the plaintiff a sum representing 15 per cent of the judgement sum as interest on the judgement sum, from the date of delivery of judgement till the date of full and final liquidation of same.
“A declaration is hereby made that the defendant is liable to a total forfeiture and divestment of all his title, rights, interests, benefits, and claims in respect of the 5,000,000 shares of Skye Bank shares in the record of the Central Secures & Cleaning System while the plaintiff is entitied to take over, as beneficial owner, all the title, rights, interests, benefits and claims in respect of same.
“An order of final foreclosure and final forfeiture is hereby made foreclosing and divesting the defendant of his title, rights and interests, in respect of the 5,000,000 units of Skye Bank shares in the records of the Central Securities & Clearing System and vesting same in the plaintiff in furtherance of part liquidation and satisfaction of the outstanding debt obligation of the defendants due to the plaintiff.
“An order is hereby made mandating the defendant to pay to the plaintiff the sum of N2,000,000:00k as costs for filing and pursuing this claim,” the judge declared.