The Stallion Group has accused the United Bank for Africa (UBA) of Wrongfully debiting its account with the bank to the tune of over N14b and surreptitiously obtaining a court order to seal its premises.
In a statement issued on Monday, Alhaji Tajudeen Olalere, Executive Director, Stallion Group, said “Our attention has been drawn to certain publications in the media regarding our commercial relationship with the United Bank of Africa (UBA PLC) and an alleged lawsuit filed by UBA PLC against our Group.
“Although the reports thoroughly misrepresent the state of affairs, we are not unmindful of the fact that such reports are misleading. As such, I Alhaji Tajudeen Olalere, Executive Director Stallion Group, would like to clarify as follows:
“The Bank failed to serve our Group or any of our entities with the Motion on Notice and the Originating Processes at any time prior to the hearing of the Motion on Notice upon which the interim order was predicated and we were only assailed with sponsored publications in the media.
“Our lawyers are already taking steps to deal with the issues arising from the ex parte interim orders of the Federal High Court.
“In terms of our commercial relationship with UBA PLC, we have maintained a mutually beneficial banking relationship with UBA PLC spanning over three decades.
“While UBA PLC have, during the course of the relationship availed us credit facilities for our operations, we have consistently repaid and serviced the facilities to the utmost satisfaction of UBA PLC.
“For the comfort of our stakeholders and without prejudice to the pending suit, our records confirm that in the last 10 years, we have made lodgements with UBA PLC to the tune of over half a trillion naira which, more than suffices in repaying every facility availed to us by the Bank.
“However, as a devoted customer of the Bank, we have been in active engagements with the Bank in resolving all claims of outstanding indebtedness.
“UBA debited our account with excess Principal amounting to N10,324,418,431 (Ten Billion, Three Hundred and Twenty Four Million, Four Hundred and Eighteen Thousand, Four Hundred and Thirty-One Naira) and interest on of N2,883,976,214 (Two Billion, Eight Hundred and Eighty Three Million, Nine Hundred and Seventy Six Thousand, Two Hundred and Fourteen Naira) based on the interpretation of the offer letter referred to above.
“This excess debit resulted in additional interest being charged to our account to the tune of N14,774,257,090 of (Fourteen Billion, Seven Hundred and Seventy Four Million, Two Hundred and Fifty Seven Thousand, Ninety Naira) and consequently the bank ended up charging N27,982,651735 in excess of what should have been charged as per the terms of the offer letter.
“UBA charged unauthorized interests, management fees, COT-VAT, Fees, Finance Charges and LC Charges contrary to the agreement of the parties and applicable Central Bank of Nigeria guidelines and approved rate of charges.
“As at 18 September 2023, we were assured by the Bank through our designated Relationship Manager in the Bank that our request for account reconciliation and restructuring.
“More recently, on 11 October 2023, we received another written communication from the Bank confirming the ongoing engagements at resolving all claims of indebtedness.
“It therefore came as a rude shock to our Group to learn that UBA PLC surreptitiously filed an application in the Court on 17 October 2023 (6 days after their latest response to our communication) which culminated in the interim orders issued by the Federal High Court on 20 October 2023.
“It is even more shocking that UBA PLC will proceed in the manner it did when it has, as security for its commercial engagements with our Group, our assets worth about N130 Billion and payment instructions amounting to about N24 billion against monies due to us, which in all material particulars, far exceed whatever claims it may consider to have against any member of our Group.
“As earlier stated, our team of lawyers are giving due attention to the interim court orders and we are optimistic of a timely resolution of all issues.
“While we remain, as always, committed customers of UBA PLC, we are already exploring necessary avenues of resolution including the deployment of legal measures to rectify what we presently consider as a legal wrong done to us by UBA PLC in the manner it has proceeded against us.
“We assure all our Bankers, Customers, Suppliers, OEMs, Vendors and the General Public that there is no cause for panic.
“We remain a formidable and united Group with expansive business, commercial and production activities across many spheres of the Nigerian economy.
“All our businesses units, companies and entities within the Stallion Group remain viable going concerns.
“We remain strategic partners to the Federal Government of Nigeria, State Governments and several other government institutions with whom we have maintained solid and unblemished partnership over the years.
“The negative publications arising from what we consider an unwarranted and wrongful move on the part of UBA PLC do not and cannot distract us from our operations and we assure everyone that we will continue to live up to our contractual commitments and undertakings.”
It would be recalled that the receiver-manager of the bank, Romeo Michael, court bailiffs and the police reportedly executed the court order.
Although Justice Akintayo Aluko gave the order on October 20, 2023, it was only executed last Friday November 10.
The case was adjourned till November 20 for hearing of the motion on notice.
The affected assets include mortgaged property known as “all that piece or parcel of land together with any building thereon” at Plot 371, Trans Amadi Industrial Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“Plot 353, Trans Amadi Industrial Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Plot 370, Trans Amadi Industrial Layout, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Kilometre 17, Lagos Badagry Expressway, Lagos State and No. 54, Challawa Industrial Estate, Kano State, Nigeria.”
The order also affects the defendants’ sums, totalling N156bn in commercial, microfinance and other financial institutions across the federation.
The 1st to 4th plaintiff/applicants in the suit are UBA Plc, UBA Cameroon SA, Cote D’Ivoire SA and Romeo Ese Michael.
The 1st to 11th defendants/respondents are Stallion Nigeria Limited (In Receivership), Von Automobile Nigeria Limited, Popular Farms And Mills Limited, Havana Nigeria Limited.
The other defendants are KRBL Food Industries Limited, Qingqi Motorcycle Manufacturing Limited, Stallion Auto Keke Limited, Stallion Motors Limited, The Honda Place Limited, Yokohama Construction Limited and Mr. Sunil Vaswani.
The order also barred the Federal Ministry of Defence and Federal Ministry of Finance from releasing to the defendants or any of their affiliates any fund belonging or accruing to any of the defendants.