The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to dismiss a suit by a former Managing Director of the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, seeking to regain the assets she forfeited upon her conviction in 2010.
Ibru had filed the suit urging the court to stop the Attorney-General of the Federation and AMCON from further taking any steps towards implementing the terms of the plea bargain and settlement agreement leading to her conviction.
Other plaintiffs in the suit are Sidochem Industries Ltd., Edgar Sido and Dr. Francis Sido.
Ibru, acting on behalf of herself and Ibru Group, along with the three other defendants, is seeking an order of court mandating parties to return to status quo prior to November 12, 2013.
The plaintiffs alleged that AMOCN had on the said November 12, 2013, mischievously obtained an ex parte order from the court without disclosing material facts in the plea bargain agreement.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed had on April 29, 2014, granted an interim injunction restraining the two defendants from further taking such steps.
The judge had also ordered the defendants to appear in court to show cause why the order to maintain status quo should not be made.
The Attorney-General of the Federation was not represented by any counsel in court on Tuesday. But AMCON’s lawyer, Mr. Ademuyiwa Balogun, who was present, urged the court to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction.
Balogun also opposed an application by Ibru’s counsel, Mr. AdeOkeanya-Inneh (SAN), seeking preservative order restraining the defendants pending the hearing of the suit.
“We are opposed to that application for preservative order, the reason being that we are challenging your Lordship’s jurisdiction.
“With the greatest respect, your Lordship’s jurisdiction is only limited to the deciding whether or not the court has jurisdiction to entertain the suit,” Balogun argued.
He said there was no urgency requiring the court to make any preservative order.
“The cause of action arose in November 2013, the plaintiff only approached this court in March 2014, it is a clear admission that there is nothing urgent to protect,” he said.
Justice Mohammed upheld Balogun’s argument, saying he could not make any preservative order when his jurisdiction to entertain the suit was being challenged. He adjourned till June 22 for the hearing of AMCON’s preliminary objection.
The Federal High Court in Lagos had on October 9, 2010 convicted and sentenced Ibru to 18 months imprisonment after she pleaded guilty to three counts of negligence, reckless grant of credit facilities and mismanagement of depositors’ funds.
Over N191bn worth of asset was seized from Ibru in line with the plea bargain agreement.