By Segun Odeleye
The Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) believes that Doyin Okupe, a special adviser to Pres. Goodluck Jonathan, does not have a valid defence in a suit which the corporation filed against him and two others over a N34m debt.
The NDIC has therefore asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to place the suit on the “undefended list”.
The two other respondents in the NDIC suit before Justice Saliu Saidu are Value Trust Investment Limited and its Director, Mr. Ray Ahazie.
According to reports:
The NDIC had instituted the action in 2007 to recover the alleged debt being the outstanding of a loan facility obtained by the respondents from Gulf Bank Plc in October 2000.
The corporation, in a statement of claims by its lawyer, Dr. Abiodun Layonu (SAN), said the respondents obtained the loan from the bank to facilitate a contract to supply the Bayelsa State Government with 10,000 metric tons of imported rice.
It, however, stated that though the said rice was successfully imported on December 28, 2000, the ship was unable to berth at the Apapa Port in Lagos until January 3, 2001 because the port was then congested.
The corporation stated further that when the ship arrived at Port Harcourt on July 26, 2001, an unpaid agency fee in the sum of $155,000 prevented it from berthing.
According to the NDIC, the said delay in the delivery of the bags of rice led to some becoming caked and some becoming stained.
Bayelsa State Government was said to have refused to take delivery of the rice, following which Gulf Bank was forced to commence an open market sale of the goods and in the process discovering that a good number of the bags of rice were spoilt.
The bank said that at the end of the sale it was able to recoup only N454, 574,150 of the loan advanced to the defendants leaving an outstanding sum of N70,425,850.
The outstanding sum was said to have been attracting interest since 2001.
The matter was said to have been referred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in September 2005 where the sum of N196,642, 996 of the debt with interest was waived, leaving only an outstanding of N44m.
The NDIC however claimed that following the waiver, the defendants were able to pay only N10m out of the N44m bringing the debt down to N34m.
But since then the defendants were said to have allegedly abandoned the debt or refused to liquidate it.
NDIC in its suit before the Federal High Court is seeking to reclaim the indebted sum with 21 per cent interest per annum till it would be finally liquidated.
The corporation also wants the court to put the cost of instituting the legal action on the defendants.
At the resumed hearing of the case before Justice Saidu, counsel for the NDIC, Mr. Oburume Ayeteno, informed the court that the corporation had filed an application to place the suit on the undefended list, adding that he was ready to argue same.
In response, however, Okupe’s lawyer, Mr. Yemi Gbonegun, said he had already filed a statement of defence to the claims.
The document was however not found in the court’s records following which Gbonegun sought for an adjournment to be able to re-file it.
The court adjourned further proceedings till July 8.