Authorities seal Skye Bank branches

By The Citizen
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Bailiffs from the Osun State High Court on Thursday stormed four branches of Skye Bank in Osogbo to execute a court order granted in fvour of Tuns Farms Nigeria Limited against the bank.

Tuns Farms Limited and other subsidiaries of The Tuns Group had got three separate court judgments awarding a total of N3.9bn in their favour against Skye Bank.

The judgments were subsequently affirmed by the Akure Division of the Court of Appeal.

The sealing of Skye Bank branches in Osogbo on Thursday was pursuant to a writ of attachment and sale issued by the court in respect of the property of the bank.

The court bailiffs, who went to execute the order, were accompanied by heavily armed policemen.

They drove out the bank officials, locked the doors and removed some property including generators, vehicles and some items found in the banks.

A private car said to be the property of the regional manager of the bank was removed from the premises by a towing vehicle brought for the purpose but the manager pleaded and the vehicle was spared.

The invasion of the bank branches caught the customers unawares as many of them who had come to make withdrawals were disappointed when they discovered that bailiffs and policemen had taken over the banks.

Tuns claimed in the writ of summons that the bank offered a credit facility of N414,000,000 to it for the purpose of developing its property in Abuja.

The company claimed that it projected to earn a net income of N1.152bn from the project but said the bank turned round and released only N150m to it, thereby breaching the contractual agreements between the parties.

In a certified true copy of one of the judgments delivered by Justice A. O. Ogunlade on March 14, 2014, the court held, 'I am convinced by the overwhelming evidence laid before me that the defendant (Skye Bank) breached the fundamental terms of the contract in facility 11 of exhibit PA1 without lawful justification and I hereby make an award of special damage in full to the claimant, in the sum of N421,384,000, being the loss the claimant suffered due to the refusal and failure of the defendant to comply with the terms and conditions of the contract of 17th August, 2005.

'The claimant, through one of the paragraphs of its statement of claim, has established the fact that the breach of the terms and conditions of the contract in facility 11 of exhibit PA1 caused the claimant's director and shareholders myriad of psychological trauma and emotional breakdown.'

Counsel for Tuns, Chief Duro Adeyele (SAN), told journalists that the three cases were resolved in favour of his clients and the Court of Appeal affirmed the judgments.

Adeyele said the court awarded N902m against the bank in one judgment; N460m in the second verdict and N2.6bn in the third one totaling N3.9bn.

He stated that there was nothing inhibiting his client from executing the judgment, saying the sealing and removal of property would be extended to all other branches of the bank in Nigeria if they could not raise the judgment sum.

But, the Head, Corporate Communications, Skye Bank Plc, Mr. Rasheed Bolarinwa, while briefing journalists faulted the claims of Tuns Group's counsel, that there was nothing inhibiting his client from executing the judgment.

Bolarinwa said, 'The Appeal Court delivered judgment on May 8th, 2015 and we filed a notice of appeal to the Supreme Court.

'We also filed a stay of execution application and we are only waiting to be called by the Supreme Court to come and argue the stay of execution.'

The bank's spokesperson said all the three cases were on appeal, adding that the bank did not understand why Tuns Group resorted to self-help with the assistance of the high court.

He apologised to the bank's customers for the inconveniences caused by the disruption of their activities. He said two of the branches would open on Friday (today) and the remaining one next Monday. - Punch.