By ODUNEWU SEGUN
FIRST Bank of Nigeria has denied the forgery allegation levelled against one of its principal officers, Managing Director of FBN trustee, Kunle Awojobi and others that they forged the signature of Ola Olaniran, Operational Director of Zone 4 Energy Limited, on some documents used to obtain an order to take over the farm tank of Zone 4 Energy Limited over an alleged non-payment of a loan.
In the statement signed by the bank, FBN stated that the allegation of a purported forgery against it and its officers is a desperate attempt by the Management of Zone 4 Energy to scuttle the recovery process with spurious allegations by playing to the public gallery.
“It is pertinent to emphasize that Zone 4 Energy Limited has maintained a business relationship with FirstBank and has been availed of Import Finance Petroleum Lifting facility following their request to support local purchase and importation of refined petroleum products, as well as the acquisition and renovation of a Tank Farm.”
FBN said the facilities are secured with a perfected All Asset Debenture over the financed Tank Farm located in Calabar Free Trade Zone.
The bank went further, saying in the course of its business relationship with Zone 4 Energy, it also availed facilities to three other customers; Reeico Nigeria Limited, Broadwaters Resources Ltd and Calder Crest Nigeria Ltd the proceeds of which weretransferred to Zone 4 Energy Limited accounts in compliance with transfer instructions from Reeico Nigeria Limited, Broadwaters Resources Ltd and Calder Crest Nigeria Ltd.
“After the disbursement of funds and passage of time and the failure of Zone 4 Energy to meet its obligations to the Customers and FirstBank, the Bank had at various times engaged with the Management of Zone 4 Energy Ltd and got an undertaking to repay the debts owed the Bank.”
First Bank stated that after protracted engagements and the Company’s failure to honour the term of its undertaking, the Bank activated a recovery process with the appointment of a Receiver Manager and instituted a receivership process to take over the financed Tank Farm.
FBN had approached a court in July this year through its receiver, Emmanuel Oyebanji, to obtain a court order to take over the Zone 4 Energy tank farm located in the Calabar Free Trade Zone and to freeze the account of the company.
The affected company subsequently filed a motion to discharge the order through its lawyer Lanre Ogunlesi, alleging that the order was obtained in error and that the day of execution of the order had elapsed. Mr. Ogunlesi argued that his client never received notice of this action.
Justice Abdul Aziz Anka in his ruling ordered ordered that some of the assets claimed by First Bank Plc. be relinquished to Chukelad Nigeria Limited, a third party in trade with Zone 4 Energy. 2,804,735 liters of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and 1,927,727 liters of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) were to be evacuated from the tank farm belonging Zone 4 Energy Limited. He adjourned ruling until September 8, 2016.