A Lagos State High Court sitting at Osborne, Ikoyi on Wednesday warned executives of banks who fail to disclose the amount to the credit of Imagine Global Holding Company Ltd, Imagine Global Solutions Ltd, Mr Bamise Samson Ajetunmobi and Mrs Elizabeth Anuoluwapo Ajetunmobi.
The court said such bank officials risk going to prison.
The two firms and the Ajetunmobi couple have been associated with an N11,795,090,000 investment scam, by the claimants/applicants who are aggrieved Nigerian investors.
According to the Claimants/Applicants’ motion, over N11,795b is the outstanding investments and return on investments accruing to them from the defendants.
Justice Toyin Oyekan-Abdullahi, who gave the warning, noted that some banks are yet to comply with the court’s October 24, 2021 orders that it granted in favour of the investors.The orders restrained commercial banks in Nigeria from releasing funds up to N11,795,090,000 to the two firms and the Ajetunmobi Couple.
The orders also commanded the banks to, among others, file and serve on the Claimants counsel, Adetunji Adedoyin-Adeniyi within seven days of service of the order on them, an affidavit disclosing the balance on the defendants’ accounts.
The orders followed a Motion on Notice for a Mareva Injunction filed ex parte by the Claimants/Applicants on October 15, 2021 in suit LD/579CM/2021.
At the commencement of Wednesday’s proceedings, Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi expressed displeasure with some of the banks’ conduct that failed to strictly comply with the Order of Court.
She warned that besides sanctioning any defaulting bank executive, any lawyer that acts anything contrary to the order of court would also risk being sanctioned, because “the court will not allow the citizens of this country to keep weeping because of the absconding investors.”
The judge’s allusion to abscondment was in reference to news reports that the Ajetunmobis had obtained the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda, with the country’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne stating on October 20 that they would be captured if they entered the Carribean country.
The court heard that one of those affected by the conduct of the Ajetunmobis and their companies was Wema Bank which allegedly gave loan to Imagine Global in September, 2021, after accepting the defendants’ properties as collateral, as contained in the application filed by Wema Bank seeking to discharge the Order of court as an interested party.
But Adedoyin-Adeniyi opposed the application on the ground that Wema Bank is equally a victim as much as the claimants, by virtue of the personal guarantees the Defendants executed in favour of the claimants as far back as January, 2020.
Furthermore, Babalakin & Co equally filed and application on behalf of a firm known as Mainstreet Capital Ltd, which also invested in the defendants, as contained in an application filed through the law firm seeking to join as co-claimant in the suit.
Adedoyin-Adeniyi also opposed the application, arguing that many organisations which lacked courage to go after the couple due to the sensitive nature of the matter, now wanted to piggyback on the claimants who had approached the court for mareva orders.
He argued that the claimants should not be compelled to allow other parties to join the case, rather, anyone with grievances against the couple “should go and file his own case.”
Adedoyin equally alleged that N17Billion had passed through Imagine Global’s account with Wema Bank between May, 2020 and May, 2021 and the Bank is yet to place before the court the detailed statement of account of Imagine Global Ltd.
Justice Oyekan-Abdullahi has adjourned till November 11, 2021 for the banks to show cause in compliance with the order of court.
Part of the court’s orders includes barring the four defendants from accessing funds up to N11,795,090,000 in their accounts with the banks, pending the hearing and determination of a Motion on Notice for a Mareva Injunction.
The court also barred the banks – in the interim – from dealing with all monies and/or whatsoever assets due to the defendants from any account maintained by the 1st – 4th defendants and also all accounts with BVN: 22168443525 (3rd Defendant) and BVN:22141952749 (4th Defendant), up to the N11,795,090,000.
It further restrained the defendants from selling, transferring, assigning and/or dealing with the following properties: Apartment 7, Oakwood Residences, 23, Cooper Street, Ikoyi, Lagos and B4, Gate 3, Lafiaji Road, Victoria Crescent Estate, Olugborogon, Chevron, Lekki, Lagos or any other properties/assets of the 1st, 2nd 3rd and 4th Defendants that can be traced and located by Claimants/ Applicants during the pendency of the suit.