Lagos Federal High Court, has dismissed a N300 billion suit filed by Dr. Olawale Bolanle Babalakin, SAN and his four companies against the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, for freezing his bank accounts.
Babalakin’s suit was dismissed for lack of merit with punitive cost of N10,000.
Babalakin’s companies that were joined as claimants/applicants in the suit are; Bi-Courtney Limited, Chartered investment Limited, Resort International Limited and Roygate Properties Limited.
Babalakin and his companies instituted the suit against AMCON, following an ex-parte order made on September 22, 2014, by Justice Okon Abang, in suit number FHC/L/CS/1361/2014, which stopped him from withdrawing money from all his bank accounts in the country.
In the suit, Dr. Babalakin and his companies had sought for an order of the court to direct AMCON to pay him a total sum of N300 billion as general damage, and aggravated and exemplary damages.
The claimants had also sought for a declaration that as at September 22, 2014, AMCON’s offer letter dated May 7, 2014, cannot create and/or could not have created a new cause of action, either to him or the defendant as same arose from settlement process engaged in by them in order to resolve the dispute which was the subject matter of several court actions.
Babalakin and his companies also sought for a declaration that AMCON fraudulently misinterpreted and/or concealed material facts in order to procure the September 22, 2014 ex-parte order.
The plaintiffs also sought a declaration that they are entitled to be compensated in damages by AMCON owing to the defendant’s commencement of suit number FHC/L/CS/1361/2014, and the effects arising from the said suit as well as the AMCON’s conduct in the aftermath of the court’s setting aside of the order.
During the trial, Babalakin in his evidence said himself and his companies have suffered substantial losses including loss of business on the days and weeks following thier inability to access their bank accounts, and loss of business owing to the lowering of their reputation and that of their businesses in the eyes of the general public and their business partners, which was as a result of AMCON’s publication.
Babalakin and his companies also stated before the court that their case of losses were allegedly suffered on account of the acts of AMCON in obtaining the ex-parte order in suit number FHC/L/CD/1361/2014.
Consequently, they urged the court to grant their requests.
However, AMCON in its statement of defence,filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), stated that as a statutory body saddled with the responsibility of resolving non-performing loans in commercial banks in Nigeria, acted in good faith and in accordance with its statutory powers under its Act in order to recover the over N54Billion debt profile of Babalakin and his companies purchased the non-performing loans of Babalakin and his companies from various banks, following their inability to pay the said loans, and instituted recovery actions against them.
AMCON also stated further that following protracted litigation, both parties met and agreed on out of court settlement, which culmulated in a debt settlement agreement and an offer letter dated May 7, 2014, was issued to the claimants, but they failed to adhere to the terms of the offer letter.
AMCON stated further that following the failure of the claimants to adhere to the terms of the letter of offer, and on legal advise from its solicitors, it instituted suit no. FHC/CS/1361/2014, to enforce the terms of offer letter, and that Justice Okon Abang on September 22, 2014, granted ex-parte Order of possession over properties belonging to Babalakin and his companies, and freezing orders over their bank accounts.
The defendant also stated that ex-parte order was however set aside by Justice Ibrahim Buba on the ground that the suit constituted an abuse of court process. And that dissatisfied with Justice Buba’s ruling, it filed an appeal in Appeal number CA/L/930/2014, before the Lagos division of Appeal Court, to upturn Justice Buba’s decision.
It added that while the appeal is still pending, the claimants filed this suit, it therefore urged the court to dismiss the suit for being an abuse of court process, and that it does not disclosed a reasonable cause of action and is premature, and for lack of jurisdiction.
In dismissing the Babalakin’s suit, Justice Idris pronounced that:”It takes me to a very important issue I wish to address, arising from the proceedings that led to this judgement. The issue has to do with the duty of a counsel to properly and fully represent his client. Once counsel accepts a brief from his client, he is under a solemn professional duty to properly and fully represent the client.

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