A federal high court sitting in Lagos has struck out bankruptcy suit filed by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON,against a Lagos businessman, Dr Bolanle Olawale Babalakin (SAN),for non compliance with proper procedure.
However, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, who filed the suit in order to recover a debt of N10.3Billion from Babalakin has resolved to re-filed the suit.
In an affidavit of truth of statement sworn to by chief Legal officer of AMCON. Mr. Ben Daminabo and filed before the court by a Human right lawyer Dr Olisa Agbakoba (OON, SAN) the corporation while urging the court to adjudge Dr. Babalakin (SAN) bankrupt was also seeking the order of the court directing that all his assets, interests and holdings be liquidated, and the proceeds applied towards offsetting his debt in the sum of N10.300,000,000 based on his personal guarantee in favour of his company Roygate Properties Limited.
It was alleged that Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria is a government intervention institution created by statute for the purpose of efficiently resolving non-performing loan assets of Banks in Nigeria acquired the loan portfolio of Dr Babalakin in the sum of N13,476,897,098.80.
AMCON in the pursuit of its mandate acquired from Guaranty Trust bank for valuable consideration, the outstanding debt of Dr Babalakin, which as at October20,2011 stood at N13.476,897098.80, and has thus become subrogate in the place of the bank for the recovery of the acquire debt.
AMCON as the petitioner issued demands letters duly acknowledged by the defendant to pay the debt, but rather than pay his admitted debt or submit a further proposal to pay the defendant, resorted to institute frivolous court action to prevent and frustrate the petitioner from recovering the debt.
Babalakin was alleged at all times material to this petition as he is the Chairman and alter ego of Roygate Properties Limited, and executed a personal guarantee in the sum of N10.3Billion on behalf of the loan granted the company
The defendant is also alleged to be indebted to many banks and a large number of his assets have been pledged to these banks as security for the loans.
Consequently, the Petitioner thus prays the court for the following orders: An order adjudging the defendant, Dr Babalakin SAN bankrupt, an order directing that all assets, Interests, and holdings of the said Dr Babalakin either held personally or through third parties and privies be liquidated, and all the proceeds applied towards offsetting the defendants debts in the sum of N10.3billion
An order divesting the respondent Dr. Babalakin of all shares, interests and holding in all public and private companies. An order of perpetual injunction restraining Dr. Babalakin’s appointment as a director in any public or private Company in Nigeria.
However, in an affidavit in support of preliminary objection sworn to by Ebele Oliko and filed before the court, the deponent averred that there is a pending suit before the court in respect of the debt, therefore the petitioner did not comply with the conditions set out in the Bankruptcy rules for the commencement of this Bankruptcy proceedings, therefore urged the court to strike out the suit.
However, the petitioner in a counter affidavit sworn to by a legal practitioner Malechi Okafor, the deponent averred that Babalakin’s preliminary objection was a ploy to frustrate the debt recovery suit.
Justice Olatoregun Ishola in her ruling stated that there must be a judgement or an order before the commencement of bankruptcy proceedings. She added that the certified true copy(CTC) of the judgement or order is expected to be attached to the bankruptcy motion by the creditor.
However, the judge held that the petitioner has failed to comply with the laid down procedures in filing the proceedings. The motion filed in the case was declared invalid and the entire proceedings filed by the petitioner was struck out.