BANKPHB V. ZENON: COURT STRIKES OUT JULIUS BERGER, AP'S NAMES

By NBF News
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A Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere on Tuesday struck out the names of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and African Petroleum Plc in a N5.8bn suit by BankPHB Plc against Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited.

BankPHB had in the substantive suit alleged that Zenon was owing it N5.8bn as at January 11, in respect of credit facilities granted the oil firm between 2007 and 2008.

Justice Kazeem Alogba also vacated the mareva injunction restraining AP Plc and Julius Berger from dealing with Zenon Petroleum and its Chairman, Mr. Femi Otedola.

In his ruling, the judge also lifted his earlier order that the N397.8m allegedly owed Zenon by Julius Berger should be paid into an interest yielding account in the name of its chief registrar.

The judge also discharged its order freezing AP's account with BankPHB, which has a credit balance of N2.317bn.

Justice Alogba further held that AP and Julius Berger were not necessary parties in the matter, on the grounds that they were mere stakeholders.

The judge added that from the evidence before him, BankPHB did not disclose any reasonable cause of action in its statement of claim against Julius Berger and AP to warrant their inclusion in the suit.

But the judge refused to grant N250m damages demanded by AP against the bank for dragging it to court.

The judge, however, advised the parties in the suit to find a way to resolve the dispute and adjourned the case till Wednesday (today) for another ruling on Zenon and Otedola.

The bank had further alleged that Zenon breached the terms of the credit facilities by not disclosing its earnings from the sale of petroleum products.

It also said the firm failed to remit the proceeds to the bank and did not fulfil its commitments to the bank, as part of measures to liquidate the debt and avoiding its obligation to the bank.