$29.8m/N3.8bn debts: Court orders Skye Bank to take over Intercontinental hotel

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The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered Skye Bank Plc to take over a five-star hotel, Intercontinental Hotel, located at Plot 244 and 245 (now 52) Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The bank had dragged Milan Industries Limited, owner of the 361-room Intercontinental Hotel, to court over an alleged debt.

Skye Bank claimed to have granted loan facilities of $29.8m and N3.8bn to Milan Industries Limited to construct the hotel.

It claimed to have also raised an overdraft facility of N500m in favour of Milan Industries Limited “to urgently fund payments to contractors and importation of material required for completing the hotel project.”

The bank’s lawyer, Mr. Kunle Ogunba (SAN), however, claimed that Milan Industries Limited defaulted in the repayment of the loan to his client, which, he said, necessitated the suit.

“At the expiration of the tenure of the various facilities extended by the plaintiff, the defendant failed and/or neglected to liquidate the various facilities and same continues to accrue interest.

“The facilities availed the defendant have since matured and/or expired and the defendant has failed to liquidate same and failed to comply with various repayment plans of the principal and interest despite several magnanimities extended to it by the plaintiff,” the bank said.

Skye Bank said it was left with no choice but to appoint a receiver/manager in line with the registered deed of legal mortgage.

“The balance of convenience in the instant suit is in favour of the plaintiff/applicant whose funds are taxpayers’ monies which ought to be accounted back to the Central Bank of Nigeria,” the bank added.

Following an ex parte application, Justice Babs Kuewumi ordered Skye Bank to take over all assets of Milan Industries Limited including Intercontinental Hotel, which is covered by a deed of legal mortgage, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

The judge granted the bank’s prayer to appoint Ogunba as the receiver-manager of the hotel in order to preserve it’s assets.

He directed the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2, the Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and their agents to assist Ogunba in the performance of his duties as the receiver-manager.

The judge ordered all the financial institutions in the country as well as other agencies contractually obligated to Milan Industries to furnish Ogunba with details of sums outstanding to the defendant’s credit.

He restrained Milan Industries Limited and his officials from tampering with the company’s funds and assets both within and outside the country pending the outcome of the debt recovery suit.

The judge, however, directed Skye Bank to file an “undertaking to indemnify the defendant should it turn out that this order ought not to have been made.”

He adjourned further proceedings in the case till May 17.Punch



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