Younger brother to Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, Sani Dangote is at war with Union Bank of Nigeria, According to reports today by punch news, a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered 20 Commercial banks in Nigeria to dishonour all withdrawal cheques from Sani Dangote and his companies, Bulk Pack Services Limited and Dansa Foods Limited until September 11th 2014.
Punch news report that the high court judge, Justice Okon Abang, gave the order while presiding over a case brought against Dangote by Union Bank. Union Bank had dragged him and his companies to court over alleged refusal to pay up the N5.2bn loan granted his company since September, 2008.
Union Bank, through its lawyer, Mr. Chukwudi Enebeli had instituted suits seeking an order of mareva injunction to restrain all the defendants’ banks in Nigeria- Access, CITI, Diamond, Ecobank, Enterprise, Fidelity, Keystone, Mainstreet, Skye, Wema, Heritage, Sterling, Unity, Zenith Banks, First Bank, First City Monument Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Standard Chartered Bank and United Bank for Africa – from allowing Mr Dangote and his companies to withdraw funds from their accounts pending the determination of the suits.
In the affidavits in support of its suits, Union Bank Plc urged the court to urgently grant the mareva order because in a bid to evade payment of the loan, Dangote has been making frantic efforts to deplete the funds in the accounts of his companies, and that the bank’s investigations revealed that the defendants had started diverting the funds to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Canada and Switzerland.
An official of the bank, Olufunmilola Ayoola, while speaking about the suit said the failure of Mr Dangote’s companies to pay up the loan had negatively affected the Nigerian economy, a development which the bank claimed necessitated the suits. She said this has made the bank handicapped in supporting small scale businesses because of the lack of Funds.
When the case was called up for hearing, the counsel to Dangote and his companies told the court that that they had filed objections challenging jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit. Officials of Diamond and Zenith banks who were present revealed that Mr Dangote was owing them as well. Zenith Bank specifically said Dangote was indebted to the bank to the tune of seven million euros.
In view of the defendants’ objections contesting jurisdiction, the judge said the matter would be adjourned till September 11, 2014 to be able to take all the applications.