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RCN, GTBank Suit, Court Fixes May 28 For Final Written Addresses

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Justice E.O Ashade of the Lagos State High, Court Yaba today adjourned till May 28,2024 for the adoption of final written addresses in the suit instituted by RCN Network Limited and Alhaji S. I Nuraini Agboola Abiola against Guarantee Trust Bank and five others.

Other defendants in the suit number LD/6148LMW/2018 are
the Registrar of Titles, Lagos State Land Bureau, Mr. Seinde Fadeni, GMT Energy Resources Limited , Attorney General of Lagos State and Sanctum Hospitalities Limited.

When the matter came up for hearing yesterday Mr Charles Adeogun-Phillip counsel for NRC Network Limited and Alhaji S.I-Nuraini Agboola Abiola, cross-examined an officer in the legal department of GTB, Mr Nicholas Igwebuike.

The claimants counsel took his time to cross-examined Igwebuikd on the discrepancies noticed on the Deed of Assignment and the Deed of Tripartite Mortgage Agreement which RCN alleged were forged by GTBank and used in securing a judgement against her at the Federal High Court, Lagos.

It would be recalled that GTBank had approached the Federal High Court , Lagos to enforce it’s rights under the tripartite agreement reached between the bank and RCN over a disputed unpaid loan of over of N500 million which GTBank claimed has risen to over N900 million due to interest accumulation.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke after hearing the parties gave judgement in favour of GTBank.

However, dissatisfied with the judgement, RCN challenged the judgement at the Court of Appeal and further instituted another suit at the Lagos State High Court alleging forgery.
RCN in the suit at the Lagos State High Court contended that the Deed of Tripartite Agreement and the Deed of Assignment among others that were used by GTB in securing the judgement against her at the Federal High Court were altered.

It would be recalled that the claimants (RCN Network Limited and Alhaji. S.I-Nuraini Agboola Abiola ) had by a petition to the Central Bank of Nigeria dated 23rd March, 2020, alleged alleged fraud on the part of the GTbank.

Petition:
23rd March, 2020
1. Introduction
1.1. I, Alhaji. S.I-Nuraini Agboola Abiola, am the Managing Director of RCN Networks Ltd (RCN or The Petitioner) is a limited liability company incorporated in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Its registered address is located at No: 12C Oko Awo Close, Victoria Island, and Lagos State. The company engages primarily in the procurement, marketing and supply of military signaling equipment amongst other things. I, Alhaji Si-Nuraini Agboola Abiola, am a Nigerian citizen of Ogun State origin, currently serves as its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
1.2. The Respondent – GT Bank Nigeria PLC (GTB) is a public company, quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Its registered office is located at No. 635, Akin Adesola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos State. The company engages in the provision of banking and other financial services. Mr. J.K Olusegun Agbaje a Nigerian citizen, currently serves as its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
2. Petition
2.1. We have been made to understand that Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) has registered a default indebtedness position in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s debtor registration portal in the amount of N257,000,000 debit against RCN’s name. RCN maintains that this is untrue and unfounded.
2.2. We tender as evidence the fact that the latest statement of account provided by the Bank to the Petitioner’s account showed a N50 debit and several unrecognizable transactions that were neither initiated nor authorized by RCN.
2.3. We therefore seek the Central Bank of Nigeria’s intervention in getting this fictitious entry in debtor registration portal expunged as it is injurious to our financial wellbeing and our reputation.
3. Factual Background
3.1. The Petitioner has maintained a banking relationship with the Respondent for many years. In the normal course of business activity, the Petitioner applied for and obtained secured loan facilities from Respondent at various times between 2007 and 2009. The modus operandi of such transactions was that the Petitioner would cause myself to secure such facilities using a range of landed properties owned by myself.
3.2. In particular, on 16 April 2009, the Respondent GTB granted a line of credit in the sum of Five Hundred and Eight Million Naira (N508,000,000.00) to the Petitioner. In that regard, I submitted the title documents to my Oyinkan Abayomi Drive property to GTB on the basis that the said documents will be perfected in the event that the line of credit facility was utilised. However, the said Line of Credit facility was never fully utilised.
3.3. In September 2009, The Petitioner RCN also had a separate transaction with GTB for the issuance of an Eight Million US Dollar ($8,000,000.00) Letter of Credit for the importation of Harris Military Communication equipment for onward supply to the Nigerian Army. In return, I released the title documents to my Banana Island and Osborne Phase II properties to GTB and executed all the Tripartite Legal Mortgage (TLM) documents in favour of GTB.
3.4. As part of the conditions prescribed by GTB for the issuance of the said letter of credit facility, the Petitioners were required to execute a 12 page Tripartite Legal Mortgage (TLM) in GTB’s favour.
3.5. then obtained two copies of the 2nd Petitioner’s original signature for the TLM document. To this end, when the 2nd Petitioner first signed the TLM secured by the Banana Island Property, he erroneously signed the wrong section (witness section) following which GTB required him to repeat his signature in the right section. GTB retained both pages signed by the Petitioner and used the one where he signed as witness to initiate the perfection of the TLM secured on the Banana Island Property.
3.6. Due to some logistic delays, GTB was unable to issue the Petitioner with the Letter of Credit facility in a timely manner, resulting in the said Letter of Credit remaining unused. However, rather than return or destroy the signed TLM executed, GTB secretly retained the executed TLM.
3.7. On 18 January 2008, GTB notified me that it had approved a One Billion Naira (N1,000,000,000.00) margin loan for the purchase of shares in Zenith Bank PLC. To this end, GTB disbursed the funds directly to Zenith Bank and took custody of the shares purchased therewith. RCN and I also signed all liquidation documents in particular, an irrevocable Letter of Undertaking to place a lien on the said shares which was necessary to enable GTB to sell the said shares at its discretion. In addition, as required by the conditions attached to the said loan documentation, we paid the sum of a One Hundred Million Naira (N100,000,000.00) being the equity contribution to cover any loses in the event of a market downturn. (See GTB Letter dated 18 January 2008).
3.8. GTB at best, did not take prudent steps to mitigate its losses and at worst, was reckless and/or completely negligent, having delayed in selling the said shares until the market had experienced a steep decline which therefore resulted in total losses of Three Hundred and Forty-Six Million Naira (N346,000,000.00) in the value of the said shares, from which, it deducted the 100 million Naira equity contribution thereby resulting in a total shortfall to GTB in the amount of Two Hundred and Forty-Six Million Naira (N246,000,000.00). The said shortfall subsequently attracted an interest payment element of Two Hundred and seven Million Naira (N207,000,000.00), bringing the total loss of GTB with respect to this transaction to Four Hundred and Fifty-Three Million Naira (N453,000,000.00).
3.9. Furthermore, the Zenith Bank Public offer having been over-subscribed resulted in the allocation of shares totalling Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N750,000,000.00) to RCN/AA and not the One Billion Naira (N1,000,000,000.00) initially requested. This therefore left the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N250,000,000.00) which was thereafter refunded by Zenith Bank PLC.
3.10. Having received the said refund, we immediately forwarded same to GTB via a cheque in the amount of Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N250,000,000.00) with written instructions to the effect that the said refunded amount be paid into their loan account at GTB and be so applied in order to reduce the principal sum of One Billion Naira (N1,000,000,000.00) advanced to it by the GTB.
3.11. However, instead of doing as requested, GTB applied the said refund to a sub-account and eventually utilised it in servicing the interest which had accrued on the margin loan despite that the main account was in credit, thus resulting in excess interest being charged to the margin loan account on a higher outstanding amount. This resulted in the loan balance being artificially high by Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N250,000,000.00) and resulted in an excess interest of Two Hundred and Seven Million Naira (N207,000,000.00) making a total of Four Hundred and Fifty-Seven Million Naira (N457,000,000.00). In addition, excess service charge fees of Sixty Million Naira (N60,000,000.00) were also applied to the said account in excess of CBN Regulations. The above stated computation which was derived from data provided by the GTB to RCN’s Auditors during a hastily convened meeting at the GTB HQ after criminal investigations were initiated by the Special Fraud Unit of The Nigeria Police Force into the alleged forgery, explains how GTB PLC arrived at the outstanding loan amount of Nine Hundred and Sixty-Four Million Naira (N964,000,000.00) currently in dispute.
3.12. Permit me to note that aside of the fraudulent calculations, we have irrefutable evidence that GTB also forged a TLM by swapping the properly signed TLM that I had previously executed with respect to the Banana Island Property, for the TLM it had prepared for the Oyinkan Abayomi Drive, Ikoyi, Lagos Property which I never signed. GTB transposed the title documents of Banana Island property( which was page 11 of 12 on a twelve page document onto a nine page forged document as listed on the letter footer) registered under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) by altering the attestation page through “whiting-out” segments on the said page and then manually inserting alterations therein with a typewriter.
3.13. This matter of TLM forgery is before a court of competent jurisdiction.
4. Document Adduced in Support of the Petition
4.1. The Petitioner’s GTB account statement printed on March 12, 2020.
Thank you for your kind attention on this matter.
Yours faithfully,

S. Agboola Abiola

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