Nigeria: Stanbic IBTC, Ascon Oil Differ Over Asset Sale

12 August 2020

Ascon Oil Company Limited said it has recovered its fuel retail station situated at Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos purportedly sold by Stanbic IBTC Bank, following a Court ruling The property was allegedly sold through Stanbic IBTC's Receiver to one of its customers, Rainoil Limited.

But the bank in response, described the claim by the oil company that the Court ruled in its favour as false, saying it was a, "gross misrepresentation by Ascon, as no Court Order was granted to Ascon to warrant their extra-judicial action, which they undertook in forcefully seizing a Petrol Station validly belonging to a third party, in total defiance and disregard of Ruling of Justice Liman of the Federal High Court on 24 July 2020."

Stanbic IBTC added: "Please take note that the Federal High Court had on 24 July 2020, clearly refused to grant Ascon's Application to set aside the Order earlier granted to the Receiver appointed by the Bank to take possession of the Petrol Station located on Lekki Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1 Lagos. In total contempt of the Ruling by the Federal High Court, the Directors of Ascon resorted to self-help, and forcefully seized the property from the valid title holder.

"The Bank is taking all lawful steps to ensure that the illegal and unlawful 'possession' is reversed and the Directors of Ascon are brought to book."

However, it was gathered that Ascon regained possession of the property following an Order by Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Lagos. The suit, marked FHC/L/CS/567/2020, arose following a N1.7billion loan facility.

The property had been in the Receiver's possession following the judge's May 15, 2020 ex-parte order which authorised Police protection for the Receiver to protect and preserve the fuel retail station and restrain ASCON from interfering with the Receiver's discharge of his functions.

But on July 24, 2020, it was gathered that Justice Liman vacated the order in part following Ascon's allegation of suppression, non-disclosure and material misrepresentation of facts against Stanbic IBTC, which the bank resisted.

Also, before the July 24 ruling, and in seeking to recover the asset, Ascon had written to Stanbic IBTC, stating that its outstanding indebtedness was now available and that Ascon was ready to make the payment subject to an audit of its account. But the bank, it was alleged, declined, stating that the property had been sold.

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