Owner of multi-billion Vigeo Holdings and husband of Funke Osibodu, one-time Managing Director of Ecobank and Union Bank Plc, Victor Gbolade Osibodu, has been taken to court by pan African financial institution, Ecobank, over a debt running into N8.7 billion.
According to reports, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos issued an order restraining the businessman, and his company, Vigeo Limited, from making any withdrawal from its account and those of his agents domiciled with 17 commercial banks in Nigeria.
This order, given on Wednesday November 22, 2017, was made sequel to an affidavit deposed to by a business manager of Ecobank Nigeria Limited, Mr Segun Akinsanya, and filed before the court by a law firm, Simmons Cooper Partners.
The court also restrained Mr Osibodu and his agents by dissipating all his movable assets including, but not limited to the following: Shareholding of 80% in the property at 6 Osborne Road Ikoyi Lagos; Shareholding in the sum of N2,578,242,789.05 with Stanbic Bank, MTN and ETI; Shareholdings in the following companies where Victor Osibodu has Shares; Benin Electricity Distribution Company; Art Trade limited; Pacific Creations Limited; Goldrunner Limited; Standard Communications limited; I.C.E.L. Resources Investment Limited; Corporate Precision Limited; Grandview Limited; Vigeo International Insulation Company Ltd; International Insulation Company Ltd; Global Utilities Management Ltd; and Golden Heights Limited.
According to the plaintiff, it allegedly granted several loan facilities to the defendants “By a duly executed offer of Multiple Credit facility dated April 10, 2007, Dollar Facility 1&2, the bank approved the grant of the sums of $15 million and $1,750.000. By another duly executed offer of Multiple Credit Facility dated April 10, 2007, Naira facility 1,2&3 the bank approved the grant of the sums of N200million, N750million and N350million respectively in favour of Victor Osibodu.
Ecobank averred that the loan was secured by an unconditional personal guarantee of the company’s director, Mr. Victor Osibodu
“Osibodu executed a personal Guarantee and a duly notarized statement of Networth dated August 16, 2007. The statement of Net worth provides particulars of his personal assets worth N2,002,400,000 billion for the security of the loan in the event that he defaults in the repayment of the loan.
“By a term loan facility dated August 1, 2008 and duly executed by the bank and Vigeo Llimited on August 8, 2008, the bank approved $2million and it was agreed that the bank would make an equity contribution of 80% in the sum of USD 1,600,000 and Victor Osibodu would make a contribution of 20% in the sum of USD 400,000 towards financing of the dry-docking exercise.
“In addition to the legal Mortgage over the company and the personal guarantee of Victor Osibodu backed up by notarized statement of networth, the bank In 2009, approved USD1million in favour of Vigeo Limited by a promissory note dated June 30, 2007 and duly executed by its Director and Secretary. The company undertook to pay the sum USD1million only on 30th June 2013 being due date fixed by the promissory note. Further to the personal guarantee as stated above, Victor Osibodu provided a notarized statement of his net worth which valued his net worth as N2,871,984,896.49; all these loans were at one time or the other restructured.”
In a letter dated June 27, 2014, the lender avers that it informed Vigeo Limited and Victor Osibodu that its account had remained non-performing as the company had failed to make the agreed loan repayments.
According to the claimant, Victor Osibodu’s outstanding loan obligations stood at N719,332,948.38 due for 365 days, USD13,074,478.40 due for 365 days and USD4,114.28 due 390 days.
As a consequence of Victor Osibodu ‘s failure to repay the outstanding sums as at August 1, 2016, Ecobank claimed it called in his personal guarantee by demanding the immediate payment of N869,794,650.56 and USD16,381,292.52 on or before September, 2016.
As at 6th December, 2016, the claimant avers that Vigeo Limited total outstanding indebtedness stood at N8,123,327,459.83.
“However, upon payment of the amount realized from the sale of the share of Victor Osibodu, the company’s outstanding indebtedness reduced to N7,526,112,446.84”.
Victor Osibodu as the Chairman of Vigeo Company was alleged to have specifically involved in negotiating the loan facilities from 2007 to 2014, while Vigeo Limited was involved in the approval process of the loan facilities from 2007 to 2014.
Ojora averred further that Victor Osibodu has begun to dispose of his shares in blue chip companies having been made aware that the bank had dispose his shares which were used as part security for the loan granted the Vigeo Limited.
According to the plaintiff, “Vigeo Limited is under Osibodu’s control with stake in different subsidiaries and is capable of removing its assets including money and shareholdings from jurisdiction of this country to its company in the United Kingdom (Vigeo International limited or rendering same untraceable if urgent steps are not taken to protect the bank’s interest.”
Osibodu was also alleged to currently operating over 250 accounts in 14 commercial banks in Nigeria for himself and on behalf of Vigeo under several names and business combinations, and he has been using these accounts to set off payments in his other businesses thus making it difficult for the bank to collect payments from him.
In his ruling, Justice Saliu Saidu, restrained Vigeo Limited and its Chairman, Victor Osibodu from removing or transferring, dealing in or however dissipating all their movable assets up to the Plaintiff ‘s claim of the sum of N8,701,770,328.83, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
The defendants were also barred from operating their accounts domicile in 17 commercial banks in Nigeria pending the determination of the substantive suit.
The case has been adjourned till next week for mention.