N36.5B SUIT: FIRM REPLIES OCEANIC BANK, DENIES WITHDRAWAL BY PROJECT MANAGER

By NBF News
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Suru Worldwide Ventures Limited, a Lagos-based hotel and property development firm, at the weekend denied claims by Oceanic Bank International that a staff of the company, appointed project manager, authorised withdrawals fromĀ  the company's account to pay for services rendered by contractors.

The company which has dragged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Oceanic Bank before a Federal High Court in Lagos, claiming N36.581 billion as damages for breach of contract, said the manager was only responsible for supervising and coordinating its building project, and reporting on such to the board.

The statement by Suru Ventures, signed by Mrs. Ayo Oyeyemi, its Company Secretary, quoted the group's Managing Director, Mr. Edward Akinlade as saying that 'at no time did the project manager have the mandate to authorise or confirm withdrawals to the Bank from the Company's account, not being signatories to the said account and not having the mandate of the board to so do.'

Explaining further, the company lamented that Oceanic Bank had on several occasions paid contractors from its account without due authorisation, even against principles of good corporate governance.

While urging the CBN and the Presidency to call the bank to order, the statement quoted Akinlade as noting that 'the claim by Oceanic Bank that the unauthorised withdrawal of N9 million and N60million at different times were made with the approval of the project manager is bogus and unfounded.'

The statement added that 'the said withdrawals were made five months after the Project manager had resigned from the Company.

The project manager referred to by the Bank resigned in December 2010 and could not have authorised or approved withdrawals made on the account sometime in January 2011.

This therefore shows that the bank's response was so made with the intention to dismiss and confuse issues thereby deceiving the reading public.'

Suru Worldwide Ventures insisted that at no time did it apply for an overdraft facility from the Bank to the tune of N42 million, insisting that the said facility was created by the bank is, and remains, an unsolicited.

The statement also insisted that the bank continues to manipulate the company's account with it, creating unsolicited borrowing, thereby further increasing Suru's alleged indebted to AMCON.

Tracing the genesis of its problem with the bank, Suru Worldwide accused Oceanic of freezing its facility with which it was executing various projects, thereby preventing it from redeeming its loan and overdraft facilities granted earlier.

Despite this action, according to the writ of summons, the company lamented that Oceanic continues to charge interest on the facility since August 2009 'when it refused to make available further cash flow to the plaintiff.'