Bisi ABASS

A former Nigeria international football player, Kanu Nwankwo, and his hotel, Hardley Apartment, are to pay N30,000, fine for stalling the scheduled hearing of debt recovery suit brought against them by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, gave the order on Friday.

AMCON had dragged Hardley Apartment, its directors, Ayoola Gam-Ikon and Kanu, before the court over alleged debt of N924.7 million.

At the hearing of the matter Hardley Apartment and Kanu’s lawyer, T. A. Idelegbagbon, told the court that she is withdrawing all motions earlier filed in response to the suit in 2017.

AMCON’s lawyer, Jayes Ujah, while objecting to Idelegbagbon’s request, sought for imposition of fine on the respondents for filing frivolous motions.

He said he had already filed his response to the processes sought to be withdrawn.

The lawyer also asked the court to dismiss all new processes filed by the respondents on the ground that they contained facts that were earlier  admitted to.

After listening to the submissions of parties, Justice Aneke while conceding to the respondents’ request for withdrawal of the motions, also slammed a fine of N30,000 on them for stalling further hearing in the matter.

The judge ordered Kanu and his hotel to pay the money before January 20, 2022, when further hearing in the matter is expected to resume.

AMCON had, in 2015, dragged Hardley Apartment, its directors, Gam-Ikon and Kanu before the court in its bit to recover alleged debt owed a bank.

In an affidavit in support of the suit deposed to by a Credit Officer, Victor Igabor, AMCON said between May 2008 and January 2011, the bank offered Hardley Apartments a loan of N520,457,000.

It alleged that the hospitality firm based in Victoria Island, Lagos could not repay the loan.

The respondents’ indebtedness as at October 15, 2021 was said to be N924,788,754.56, representing principal and interest.

In December 2015, following AMCON’s application, Justice Okon Abang granted an order freezing the accounts of the former Super Eagles’ captain and Hardley Apartments.

AMCON, which bought over the loan, told the court that if the restraining order was not granted, the company’s assets could be dissipated.

The order, which was to subsist pending the determination of the suit, followed AMCON’s bid to recover the debt.

However, following the transfer of Justice Abang to another jurisdiction of the court, the matter was reassigned to Justice Aneke.

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