Court dismisses NDIC’s suit against Capital Oil
A Federal High Court, Lagos has dismissed a suit filed by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) against Capital Oil and Gas Limited and its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ifeanyi Uba.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke in his judgment held that NDIC failed to lead evidence on how it arrived at the debt balance of the alleged facilities and consequently dismissed the suit, awarding a cost of N20, 000 in favour of the defendants.
NDIC had in suit No- FHC/L/CS/422/10 dated April 1, 2010 filed by its counsel, Anozie Douglas Benson alleged that Capital Oil & Gas Limited applied for and was granted financial facilities by defunct All States Trust Bank Plc. (in-Liquidation) in the sums of N71, 740,000 and N264, 264,000 respectively.
The plaintiff further averred that the said facilities were accepted and fully utilized by first defendant (Capital Oil). The plaintiff stated that the facilities granted to the first defendant were personally guaranteed by the second defendant (Uba).
But, the defendants in their statement of defence filed by their counsel, Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN) denied the indebtedness. He stated on behalf of his client that the bank’s offer letters dated June 7, 2004 and August 3, 2004 were never disbursed by the plaintiff and that the defendants never drew down or utilized the facilities.
During trial, Nwobike had argued that the bank indulged in irregular, inconsistent and multiple debt entries on the first defendant’s account, which later resulted in the defendants lodging series of complaints on the irregularities.
Nwobike argued that it was after persistent demands and based on the mandate of the external auditors that the statement of accounts dated February 28, 2005 and July 6, 2007 were released which showed that the plaintiff has engaged in multiple, unwarranted, inconsistent and unjustified entries.
Justice Aneke who is presently on transfer to Benue State in his judgment delivered in Lagos noted that during trial, the plaintiff abandoned the offer letter for N71, 740,000, which is the outstanding balance on the first defendant’s statement of account with the All State Trust Bank Plc., less N10.4 million paid by the defendants while the bank was in liquidation.
The court held that all onus of proof is on the plaintiff to prove the defendants indebtedness to it. Justice Aneke further held that ‘entries in books of accounts or electronics records regularly kept in the course of business are admissible whenever they refer to a matter into which the court has to inquire but such statement shall not alone be sufficient evidence to charge a person with liability’.