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Following its inability to repay N333 million loans borrowed in 2008, the Federal High Court in Abuja issued an interim order freezing all bank accounts held by the Benue State Government in various banks across the country.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, who issued the order in response to an ex parte motion filed by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), also ordered that HPPS Multilink Services Ltd’s bank accounts be frozen pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
According to reports, while AMCON is the claimant, the company and the state government are the first and second respondents, respectively.

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The two respondents’ affected bank accounts are with Access Bank Plc, Citibank Nigeria Limited, Eco Bank Nigeria Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, First Bank Nigeria Plc, First City Monument Bank Plc, and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc Heritage Bank Plc, Keystone Bank Limited, Polaris Bank Limited, Stanbic IBTC Plc, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited, Sterling Bank Plc, Suntrust Bank Nigeria Limited, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Unity Bank Nigeria Plc, Wema Bank Plc, and Zenith Bank Plc are among the others.
Darlington Ozurumba, Counsel to AMCON, moved the exparte motion, with suit number: FHC/ABJ/AMC/74/2021 dated and filed on September 30.
The motion asked for five different types of relief.

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The court also issued an interim order “freezing and attaching the JAAC Bank Accounts (Joint Accounts Allocation Committee), Internal Generated Revenue Accounts, and all bank accounts of the 2nd respondent (Benue Government) maintained with all the banks mentioned above pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”
An interim order is hereby made restraining all banks and/or other financial institutions mentioned above in Nigeria from immediately releasing or dealing in any manner whatsoever with monies held in any account to which the respondents are signatories pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”

“An order is hereby made directing all banks and/or other financial institutions in Nigeria to file and serve an affidavit of compliance disclosing with a statement on each account howsoever designated, held, and/or maintained by the respondents and all accounts to which the respondents are signatories for a period of six months prior to the date of service of this order until date”

Meanwhile, in an affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by Abubakar Isa, an AMCON staff member, the corporation described the loan as a toxic loan of eligible bank assets transferred to it by law to recover.

AMCON informed the court that the 1st respondent (the firm), which has its headquarters in Kaduna State, obtained a N333 million loan facility from Bank PHB Plc (now Keystone Bank Ltd) on January 31, 2008 “for the purpose of purchasing 5,000 motorcycles to the 2nd defendant and its workers through the Nigeria Labour Congress of its state via an irrevocable standing payment order (ISPO).

“That the second respondent is the beneficiaries’ state government, which equally guaranteed ISPO’s repayment of the loan through deductions from its workers’ salaries and payment to the bank, but failed to do so.”
“That the loan was for the agreed-upon period of 24 months at a rate of interest of 19% per annum.”

“That the loan granted to the respondents has crystallized to the sum of seven hundred and eighty-four million, three hundred and forty thousand, five hundred and twenty-eight naira, three kobo (N784, 340, 428.03) as at 2014 from the sum of N333,000,000 (Three hundred and thirty-three million naira) granted to the 1st defendant in 2008 and guaranteed by the 2nd defendant as contained in the letter dated Aug. 15, 2014, which represents the interest and

Justice Ekwo then adjourned the case until November 2 for further consideration.

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