A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered Senator Victor Umeh, representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, to pay N135,722,303.40k along with accrued interest to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) over his unpaid bank loan.
Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo issued the order in a judgement delivered in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/AMC/12/2022 filed by AMCON.
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 & Clearing System to AMCON.
The judge also awarded a cost of N2m in favour of AMCON and against Umeh, who is currently the Chairman, Senate Committee on Diaspora.
According to court documents filed by AMCON, 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.
“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 facilities 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.”
AMCON stated that it later acquired the unpaid debt when Skye Bank became unsuccessful in making Umeh repay.
It added that its suit was to recover the debt, which stood at N135,722,303.40k as of April 2011.
Justice Ekwo, in his judgement, noted 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.
The judge said: “It is to be noted at this point that the defendant, upon being served, failed to enter a defence in 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 stands unchallenged and are deemed admitted and established
“It is also true that the effect of a defendant’s failure to call evidence in defense of the claims against him at the trial is that he is presumed to have admitted the case made against him by the claimant.”
The judge added that despite Umeh’s failure to file a defence, the plaintiff was able to prove it’s case through the evidence it presented.
He held that, based on the evidence presented by the plaintiff, “the indebtedness of the defendant has been proven.
“I find that the plaintiff has 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 percent per annum drawn up to January 25, 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 percent per annum drawn up to January 25, 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 percent of the principal sum as interest on the judgement sum from January 26, 2021, until the date of delivery of the judgement.
*An order is hereby made mandating the defendant to pay the plaintiff a sum representing 15 percent of the judgement sum as interest on the judgement sum, from the date of delivery of the 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 00 as costs for filing and pursuing this claim.”