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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Indian businessman accuses AMCON of disregarding court order to reopen business, leading to job loss

An Indian businessman, Harish Puri, has accused the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) of disregarding a court order to unseal his business, Global Sterling Products Ltd, leading to loss of job and destruction of the business.

According to Puri, AMCON sealed his company on March 6, 2020, based on an April 11, 2019 ex-parte order granted it by Justice Rilwan Aikawa of a Federal High Court, Lagos in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/521/2019.

He stated that the order was executed after his firm was ‘wrongly identified’ as one of the 26 debtors who failed to pay back a N8.4 billion loan.

“They (AMCON) said the court paper showed that we had taken some kind of loan. I said our name was not there as one of the parties to the suit. They said our (company’s street number) No. 98 was mentioned. I said No. 98 is very big. My neighbour, Balmoral (Events Centre) is also No. 98. They said no, this is No. 98.

“My staff of about 50 persons started running helter-skelter in panic because there were armed police everywhere. They mounted so much pressure on us that we didn’t know what to do. Most of our phones, office phones, laptops, computers with which we transacted our regular businesses, we left everything inside.

“They didn’t allow us to take anything; even some of our routine things like phones were locked inside.

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“Since then our business has been dead completely, because our customers cannot reach us. Our systems, master computer where we access our official emails and all that, they’re all inside the office.

“We wanted to take our cars, they said we couldn’t. So we started pleading that we came to work with our cars, let us leave with our cars. Finally they agreed and let us take only two cars. We came out and they locked the compound. The next day, we contacted our lawyer, Ade Adedeji and he swung into action.”

Puri said he later filed a motion before  Justice Chukwujeku Aneke of a Federal High Court in Lagos to vacate the ex-parte order on the premise that his firm was “suffering huge damages due to perishable goods in the premises and factory equipment that had since remained unserviceable and open to consequential damages and loss.”

The businessman added that in the motion, he undertook to “vacate the property in the unlikely event that in the course of the hearing of the substantive action, his claims were found to be false.”

AMCON was, however, opposed to the motion.

In its counter and further affidavit sworn to by one, Ayodele Majekodunmi, AMCON claimed that a firm, Cortex Ltd obtained a loan from the former Skye Bank (now Polaris Bank) and that it has taken over the facility as a non-performing loan.

AMCON added that it later secured a court order to attach all the assets reasonably believed to be owned by the debtor and that there was no evidence that the three plots of land measuring approximately 2170.897 square metres is owned by Global Sterling Products.

In his ruling on the businessman’s motion, Justice Aneke ordered AMCON to allow Global Sterling Ltd continue running its business on its premises.

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