by Segun Odeleye
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos ruled in favour of Keystone Bank today, and ordered professor Patrick Utomi and his company U T Roads Maintenance Limited to pay their debt of N66.6 million.
An attempt by the defendants to stop the judgement of the court on the ground that they were not given fair hearing or time to file proper defence, was objected to by Keystone Bank lawyer, Kemi Balogun, who contended that the debt recovery suit was filed on 20 July 2011 and that the defendants were given ample opportunity to file their case, but instead were chasing shadows.
Justice John Tsoho dismissed the application.
In the statement of claim filed before the court it was alleged that U T Roads Maintenance company applied for and was granted two separate loans of about N50,000,000, but when the loans were due for payment the defendants refused to pay despite series of letters of demand.
Consequently, the bank claimed the sum N72.9 million with interest at the rate of 17 per cent per annum till judgment is delivered and 19 per cent till final liquidation.
In a reply filed before the court by the defendants, they denied owing the bank any money. They claimed they had investment in the bank worth over N1,000,000,000 (one billion naira).
They also alleged that they were not served with any court process but they read of the case in newspaper publications.
In his judgment, Justice Tsoho said the papers signed to offer and accept the loans was addressed to 6, Balarabe Crescent, Victoria Island while Patrick Utomi signed for all document relating to his role as the executive chairman of the company and there was no evidence that the loans were repaid with the exemption of N6 million that was paid when this suit was filed.
Consequently, judgment was entered in favour of the bank as per statement of claim at the rate of 10 per cent. He said the N6 million already paid should be deducted at 10 per cent also.