By Frank Oshanugor
A Lagos-based Company, Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigerian Limited is now on war path with the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) over what the company has described as forceful takeover of its multi-billion naira Lagos-based property.
SECURITY REPORTER.com gathered that the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc had facilitated a loan procurement amounting to billions of naira on behalf of Suru Worldwide Ventures Limited.
In a statement at the weekend, the company has however warned any persons or their agents to steer clear of its properties or face the wrath of the law.
In its effort to regain the control of its business and operations, the company has petitioned the National Assembly for its intervention, following a business deal that went awry in over a decade.
Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited has its pies in hotel industry, landed properties, but had been battling the defunct Oceanic Bank and its successor, Access Bank Plc and AMCON, seeking their faces to remain in business.
The firm owns, Best Western Hotel, Ikeja Lagos, Opebi Hotel projects, Ikeja, Government Reservation Area( GRA) Land, Lagos State and Ikeja GRA Town Houses.
The company has therefore issued stern warning to any persons, group or their agents to steer clear of its properties, as any erring persons will face litigations.
With initial staff strength of over 2000 Nigerians, Suru Ventures later became a victim of poor economic environment as it witnessed a downturn resulting in staff rationalization that left only 250 employees, following its loan repayment challenges with the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc.
The Lagos based firm, while appealing to its creditor Bank (Occenic now EcoBank) to look into its loan repayment effort, said in its letter to AMCON, entitled: “Re: The Matter of Loan account of Suru Worldwide Nigeria Ventures Limited with Oceanic Bank International Plc, we write in respect of Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited loan accounts with Oceanic Bank International Plc which we understand has been sold to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON ) as a non- performing loan.
“The relationship between the bank and the company, commenced in August 2017, with the bank issuing a total of N10.204 billion loan facilities to the company from a total of approved loan facilities of N13bn from the said period till date.
According to the Managing Director of Suru Worldwide ventures Nigeria Limited, Edward Akinlade and Company Secretary; Ayodeji Adewunmi, in a joint statement to AMCON, “the classification of the loan accounts with bank as non-performing, is considered objectionable by the Company, as the said classification is due to no omission or negligence on our part, but owed to the bank’s breach of its agreement by the disbursement of funds on the facility as agreed and stalling the various projects which were mostly 95 percent completed as at August 14,2019.
“Considering this position and the desire of AMCON to see genuine business flourish, we hereby appeal for the below stated measures aimed at protecting the interests of all parties.”
In a frantic but desired effort to remain in business, the firm had petitioned the National Assembly’s ‘Committee on Public Petitions’ over the illegal seizure of Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited by AMCON asking it among others, to wade into the matter.
According to the Company, in a petition to the Honourable Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, dated August 1, 2019, it stated among other requests that , “AMCON is acting upon an illegally and fraudulently obtained order of the Federal High Court in Suit No: ‘FHC/ LCS/1059/ 2016 on 30/5/ 17 (without joining the owner of the property nor serving them), invaded their premises, at Allen Avenue, a five- Star Hotel, chasing away lodgers, including foreign tourists and diplomats.
However, despite efforts made by Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited for the peaceful resolution of the matter in the overall interest of Nigeria, the company regretted that it was miffed by a letter from a Solicitor acting on behalf of Infrastructural Development and Energy company Limited (IDECO), saying, “We write to inform you that having purchased the property at No: 12 Reverend Ogunbiyi Street, GRA, Ikeja (Property) from Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), our client is your new landlord. Pursuant to this, our client has instructed us to inform you that it wishes to set up a meeting with you so as to ascertain the status of your tenancy.”
Meanwhile, Suru Worldwide Ventures Nigeria Limited, through its Lawyer ,Layi Babatunde (SAN), is praying that by a letter, dated September 2,2020 , that ‘our client’s property, situated, lying at No:12 Reverend Ogunbiyi street, GRA,Ikeja Lagos State ( hereinafter called “the Property) subject matter of suit No: FHC/L/CS/1059/2016 ,now on appeal to the Supreme Court under Appeals No: SC/1098/2019 (at the instance of AMCON, however did not disclose in the said letter, to whom the property was purportedly sold and for what amounts it was sold, thereby leaving those vital issues and information to conjecture. The situation no doubt, speaks about this purported sale transaction.”
He said; “We have since drawn the attention of AMCON to the subsisting judgment in Appeals No: CA/L/86/18 SURU WORLDWIDE VENTURES NIGERIA LIMITED & ANOR v AMCON & ORS. Wherein the court of Appeals Lagos Division allowed our client Appeals and set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court of Nigeria rendered in AMCON’s favour in suit No: FHC/L/CS/450/11 BETWEEN SURU WORLDWIDE VENTURE NIGERIA LIMITED V ECO Bank Plc & AMCON wherein the Honorable court dismissed AMCON’s counter Claims for alleged indebtedness of our client to AMCON, AMCON has appealed the judgment to the court of Appeals No: CA/L/630/ 18 which appeal is still pending.
“Furthermore, in suit No: ‘’FHC / L/CS/218/2014 BETWEEN; AMCON V SURU WORLDWIDE VENTURE NIGERIA LIMITED”, the Honourable court also dismissed AMCON’s claims for the same alleged indebtedness of our clients.
“It is therefore baffling, that despite this state of affairs, AMCON could bring itself to act in such flagrant breach of the law, disregard for subsisting judgment and utter contempt of pending proceeding . AMCON ‘s conduct , no doubt , constitutes a frontal affront to due process which cannot be ignored.
“It is most regrettable, that AMCON being a product of Legislation and therefore law, will act in a way totally at variance with the rule of law and good corporate citizenship, suggesting that they are not believed in their own pending appeal not due process.”