N168m debt: Court freezes accounts of Onyema Okonjo, 2 others

N168m debt: Court freezes accounts of Onyema Okonjo, 2 others
Onyema Okonjo

A Federal High Court sitting at Ikoyi, Lagos State, has granted an order freezing and attaching the bank accounts to which the Managing Director of PC Outlet Limited Company, Mr Onyema Okonjo and two other directors of the company: Messrs Kenneth Njoku and Ernest Awuionu are signatories and maintain in 15 commercial banks in Nigeria.

The order was as a result of the adjudged indebtedness and accrued interest up till 28 February 2021to the tune of N168,431,375.61.

The court also directed Corporate Affairs Commission to place a lien on the shares of the defendants held in a limited liability company, Giant Beverages Limited pending the determination of the substantive suit.

The presiding Judge, Daniel Osiagor, also granted an  order to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, pAMCON to enter into and take possession of the property lying at Plot 18, Block 130, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State which was pledged as security by third party deed of legal mortgage for the facility granted to P.C Outlet Limited Company.

Justice Osiagor made the orders after listening to the argument canvassed by a Lagos lawyer, Barrister Laolu Owolabi from the law firm of Bonajo Badejo and S.E.Omoragbon for the defendants not opposing.

According to an affidavit in support of a debt recovery suit sworn to by a legal practitioner, Mr Francis Oloruntoba, filed and argued before the court by Barrister Owolabi on behalf of AMCON, Oloruntoba averred that, a private Limited liability company, P.C Outlet Limited, registered in Nigeria to carry on business of trading, marketing, sales and distribution of general goods was advanced various facilities by Eligible Financial Institution between 7th September, 2007 to 15th October, 2008.

The various facilities were secured by full and unconditional personal guarantee of the Managing Director/Chief Executive officer of the company, Mr. Onyema Okonjo, while his wif, Mrs Udokanma Mary Ane Okonjo executed a Third-party legal Mortgage as security for the facility obtained by P.C Outlet Limited.

Messrs Okonjo, Njoku and Awuionu, as Directors of P.C Outlet Limited were instrumental to how the facility was sourced, applied for and granted as well as the way and manner the facilities granted to the company from the Eligible Financial Institution were utilized at the material times.

However, the Directors of the company were alleged to have failed to fulfill all the conditions in the offer letters and defaulted severally.

Upon acquisition of the Eligible Asset, AMCON instituted a legal action against P.C Outlet Limited and the Court presided over by Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court entered judgement in the sum of N132,103,039.70 against the company.

The court also awarded 10% post judgement interest from 28th May, 2018 which had accumulated to the total sum of N36,328,335.91 as at 28th February, 2021.

On 11 February, 2021, AMCON appointed the law firm of Bonajo Badejo & Company to enforce and recover the outstanding facilities and in furtherance of the mandate by AMCON, the law firm took steps to investigate the defendants and discovered that Mr. Onyema Okonjo, who is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the company and sole signatory to the account of P.C Outlet maintained with the Eligible Financial Institution had diverted the funds of P.C Outlet to establish another company called Giant Beverages Limited and owns the controlling shares.

Consequently, AMCON has no other option to re-coup the defendants indebtedness if this application is not granted and the property is dissipated by the defendants.

Justice Osiagor while acceding to the request of AMCON, adjourned till 27 July,2021 for hearing of the substantive suit.