Alleged N2.4b debt: Ex-minister, Don Etiebet loses bid to stop bank’s takeover of property


The Federal High Court in Lagos Monday refused an application by a former Petroleum Minister Chief Don Etiebet’s company which sought to stop Access Bank Plc from taking over his property known as Etiebet’s Place.
The property is on Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja, Lagos, in the name of Etiebet’s company, Obodex Nigeria Limited.
Ruling Monday, Justice A. Liman refused the company’s application for stay of execution of a December 17, 2018 judgment of Justice Ibrahim Buba, which empowered Access Bank to take over the property.
The bank had sued Obodex Nigeria over an alleged debt said to be to the tune of N2.4billion.
But, the firm challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the suit.
Justice Buba, last December 17, dismissed the firm’s objection and ruled in the bank’s favour.
Access Bank subsequently took over Etiebet’s Place and appointed a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Kunle Ogunba, as receiver/ manager to manage the property towards recovering the alleged debt.
Dissatisfied, Obodex Nigeria filed an appeal as well as an application for stay of execution of the judgment.
Through its lawyer, Mr. Dele Adesina (SAN), it sought an order restraining Ogunba and his privies or assignees from “advertising or offering for sale, selling, mortgaging, transferring, alienating or otherwise interfering with the applicant’s equitable right of redemption on the property situated and lying at 21 Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja, Lagos, also known as Etiebet’s House, pending the hearing and final determination of the applicant’s appeals.”
While urging the court to grant his application, Adesina said: “I urge your Lordship to grant a stay of proceedings and stay of execution so that we’re not foisted this court with a fait accompli.”
But Access Bank, through Ogunba, opposed Obodex’s application, saying it was “totally misconceived”.
The insolvency practitioner said the receiver-manager was already in control of the applicant’s property, hence the application was belated.
“The defendant wants to eat his cake and have it. It’s very reprehensible. They admitted the debt and pleaded for time. They signed a mortgage. We urge your Lordship to discountenance their application,” Ogunba argued.
Justice Liman upheld Ogunba’s arguments and refused to grant Etiebet’s firm’s application.