For its alleged arbitrariness and high handedness in handling a protracted case bordering on a Multi billion Naira loan / debt, a lagos based Firm, Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited , has petitioned the National Assembly, complaining against unlawful decisions taken by the Asset Management Corporation Of Nigeria (AMCON).
The Firm which also Warned individuals and institutions, who purportedly bought any of its assets , to beware of laws against Trespass on Property , vowing to bring the full weight of the law by entering into litigation with such groups.
It was learnt that there have been a raging battle between the aggrieved Firm and AMCON , over what the firm described as forceful takeover of its multibillion naira Lagos- based property.
Narrating the genesis of the problems , the company said that sometime ago , defunct Oceanic Bank Plc facilitated its loan procurement amounting to billions of naira.
Unfortunately, the said business transaction went awry over a decade ago.
Following unpalatable crisis that ensued and in its effort to regain the control of its business and operations, the company therefore petitioned the National Assembly for its intervention.
Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited has its major interests in hotel industry and landed properties.
Ever since the loan issues arose , the firm has been battling the defunct Oceanic Bank , its successor, Eco Bank Plc and AMCON, seeking for amicable solutions to ensure it remain in business.
Some of the assets of the firm are , Best Western Lagos Hotel, Ikeja , Opebi Hotel projects, Ikeja, Government Reservation Area( GRA) Land, Lagos State and Ikeja GRA Town Houses.
The company who stated that it started its operations with an initial staff strength of over 2000 Nigerians, before it witnessed economic down turn, due to its loan repayment challenges that it encoutered with the defaunt Oceanic bank plc, which resulted into staff rationalization , leaving only 250 employees, therefore, issued stern warning to any persons, group or their agents to steer clear of its properties, as any erring persons would face litigations.
While elaborating its case with a letter evidence, the Lagos based firm, noted that it appealed to its creditor Bank (Occenic Bank), to look into its loan repayments effort.
In its said letter to AMCON, entitled: “Re: The Matter of Loan account of Suru Worldwide Nigeria Ventures Limited with Oceanic Bank International plc It stated thus : “We write in respect of Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited (“The Company” ) loan accounts with Oceanic Bank International Plc (“The Bank”), which we understand has been sold to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON ) as a non- performing loan.
“The bank / Customer relationship between the bank and the company, commenced in August 2017, with the bank issuing a total of N10.204 billion loan facilities of the company from a total of approved loan facilities of N13bn from the said period till date”
According to the joint statement issued by Managing Director of Suru Worldwide ventures Nigeria Limited, Mr. Edward Akinlade and Company Secretary , Mr. Ayodeji Adewunmi, to AMCON, It read : “the classification of the loan accounts with bank as non-performing, is considered objectionable by the Company, as the said classification was not due to any omission or negligence on our part, but due to the bank’s breach of its agreement on the disbursement of funds on the facility as agreed and stalling the various projects which were mostly 95 percent completed as at August 14,2019.
“Considering this position and the desire of AMCON to see genuine business flourish, we hereby appeal for the bellow stated measures aimed at protecting the interests of all parties. “
In a frantic but desired effort to remain in business, the firm therefore petitioned the National Assembly’s ‘Committee on Public Petitions’ over the illegal seizure of Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited by AMCON asking it among others, to wade into the matter.
In a petition to the Honourable Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, dated August 1, 2019, it stated among other requests that , “AMCON is acting upon an illegally and fraudulently obtained order of the Federal High Court in Suit No: ‘FHC/ LCS/1059/ 2016 on 30/5/ 17 (without joining the owner of the property nor serving them), invaded their premises, at Allen Avenue, a five- Star Hotel, chasing away lodgers, including foreign tourists and diplomats.”
However despite efforts made by Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited for the peaceful resolution of the matter in the overall interest of Nigeria , the company regreted that it was miffed by a letter from a Solicitor acting on behalf of Infrastructural Development and Energy company Limited (IDECO), saying, “We write to inform you that having purchased the property at No: 12 Reverend Ogunbiyi Street, GRA, Ikeja (Property) from Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), our client is your new landlord. Pursuant to this, our client has instructed us to inform you that it wishes to set up a meeting with you , so as to ascertain the status of your tenancy.”
Meanwhile, Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited, through its Lawyer ,Layi Babatunde (SAN), responded to the letter dated September 2,2020 , thus: “our client’s property, situated, lying at No:12 Reverend Ogunbiyi street, GRA,Ikeja Lagos State ( hereinafter called “the Property) subject matter of suit No: FHC/L/CS/1059/2016 ,now on appeal to the Supreme Court under Appeals No: SC/1098/2019 (at the instance of AMCON, however did not disclose in the said letter, to whom the property was purportedly sold and for what amounts it was sold, thereby leaving those vital issues and information to conjecture.
The situation no doubt, speaks about this purported sale transaction , He said ; “We have since drawn the attention of AMCON to the subsisting judgment in Appeals No: CA/L/86/18 SURU WORLDWIDE VENTURE NIGERIA LIMITED & ANOR v AMCON & ORS. Wherein the court of Appeals Lagos Division allowed our client Appeals and set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court of Nigeria rendered in AMCON’s favour in suit No: FHC/L/CS/450/11 BETWEEN SURU WORLDWIDE VENTURE NIGERIA LIMITED V ECO Bank Plc & AMCON wherein the Honorable court dismissed AMCON’s counter Claims for alleged indebtedness of our client to AMCON, AMCON has appealed the judgment to the court of Appeals No: CA/L/630/ 18 which appeal is still pending. “Furthermore, in suit No: ‘’FHC / L/CS/218/2014 BETWEEN; AMCON V SURU WORLDWIDE VENTURE NIGERIA LIMITED”, the Honourable court also dismissed AMCON’s claims for the same alleged indebtedness of our clients.
“It is therefore baffling, that despite this state of affairs, AMCON could bring itself to act in such flagrant breach of the law, disregard for subsisting judgment and utter contempt of pending proceeding . AMCON ‘s conduct , no doubt , constitutes a frontal affront to due process which cannot be ignored.
“It is most regrettable, that AMCON being a product of Legislation and therefore law, will act in ways totally at variance with the rule of law and good corporate citizenship, suggesting that they do not believe in their own pending appeal and due process.”