AMCON ASKS COURT TO COMPEL BANK TO STOP PAYING ANY MONEY TO SENATOR OPEYEMI BAMIDELE OVER 511MIL NAIRA DEBT

By Robert Egbe

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered Sterling Bank Plc to stop paying out any money to Senator Opeyemi Bamidele pending the determination of a suit brought against him by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

Justice Saliu Saidu made the order following an application by AMCON’s counsel Mr Kingsley Nwachukwu.

Opeyemi, representing Ekiti Central Senatorial district, is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.

AMCON is seeking to recover an alleged N511.3million debt from the lawmaker, while Bamidele countersued for N464.1million, among other sums.

At the resumed hearing of the matter today, counsel to the Sterling Bank Plc, Aisha Nnaji, told the court that Bamidele had some funds with her bank (amount not disclosed).

Following this revelation, AMCON’s counsel Nwachukwu prayed the court to order the bank not to pay any funds to the Senator until the determination of the suit.

Bamidele’s counsel, Mr Bashiru Popoola, did not oppose him.

Consequently, Justice Saidu granted AMCON’s application.

Justice Saidu adjourned the matter till March 3, for further hearing.

He also informed the parties that the case file would be returned to the Administrative Judge, for reassignment to another judge, as he is due for retirement before the adjourned date.

In the suit marked FHC/L/CS/588/2018, AMCON claimed that the defunct Oceanic Bank, on October 10, 2007, granted Bamidele an overdraft of N210 million at the interest rate of 18 per cent per annum, for the purpose of buying shares, and the tenor was 12 months.

It claimed that upon maturity of the loan facility, Bamidele failed to liquidate the loan leading to the accumulation of interest amounting to over N511.3m.

But Bamidele disputed AMCON’s version of events and counterclaimed for N464.1million, among other sums.

He alleged in his statement of defence that the defunct Oceanic Bank fraudulently induced him into a margin facility agreement and misrepresenting, concealing and/or suppressing fundamental facts as to its requisite knowledge, skills and expertise in managing the investment.

He averred that the breach of the margin trading facility agreement, fraudulent misrepresentations and mismanagement of his account by the bank occasioned huge losses to him.

Bamidele prayed for an order for the payment of N464, 146, 864.69 million, representing the 30 per cent equity contribution, compound interest of four years between 2007 and 2011, and compound interest of seven years between 2012 to March 1, 2018, among others.