A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered Providus Bank Limited to refund the sum of N329,454,650.28 to Aqua 10 Nigeria Limited for alleged fraudulent transfer.
The judge of the court, Justice Peter Lifu, also awarded the cost of N100,000 against Providus Bank Limited in favour of Aqua 10 Nigeria Limited.
The judgment was sequel to a suit filed by Barrister Kelechi Chukwu on behalf of Aqua 10 Nigeria Limited against Providus Bank Limited and seven others namely: Jethra Designs Investment Limited, Vacubeg Group of companies limited, Heroes Heights construction company Limited, Vacubeg Investment Limited, North Alta Trading Limited, Abiodun Shoyombo Trading under the name and style of Seatea Enterprises, Abiodun Afeez Adeyemi Trading under the name and style of Adeyemi Digital Enterprises.
In an affidavit sworn to by the Managing Director of the company, Oladipo Okuntola alleged that sometime between July 9 and 12, 2021, the total sum of N558,569,000 were removed from the account of his company in Providus bank Limited to the account of Jethra Designs Investment Limited in another bank in 8 tranches.
He said that the funds were meant for the payment for goods to be purchased from HG Honkong company Limited and new silver industry company Limited in China.
He added that the funds were again moved from the account of Jethra Designs Investment Limited to Vacubeg Group of companies limited.
Okuntola said that Vacubeg, in turn, moved the funds to the account of Heroes Heights construction company Limited, and that the funds were again moved by Heroes Heights construction company Limited account to Vacubeg Investment Limited
He explained that Vacubeg Investment Limited, upon receiving the funds moved same back to the account of Vacubeg Group of companies limited and then Vacubeg Group of companies limited move the funds to the account of North Alta Trading Limited.
He said the total sum of N329,454,650,296.28 were moved to the three accounts, stated below domicile in Providus bank: North Alta Trading Limited -N93,361,828.97; Abiodun Shoyombo Trading under the name and style of Seatea Enterprises- N185,133,525,.08 and Abiodun Afeez Adeyemi Trading under the name and style of Adeyemi Digital Enterprises-N50,959,296.23.
“Subsequently, it was discovered that internet fraudster were behind the companies and business names sued as 2nd to 8th defendants in this suit, and that the persons behind the companies had fled from Nigeria.
“The matter was reported to the Interpol, and through Interpol, the movement of the plaintiff’s funds and the persons involved in the fraud were traced. The Plaintiff has requested that its funds traced to the 6th, 7th and 8th Defendants accounts in the Providus Bank who is also the Plaintiff’s bankers be returned, but the bank is insisting that without the court’s directive or order, the bank will not return the Plaintiff’s funds traced to the 6th, 7th and 8th Defendants’ accounts in the Providus bank.
“That unless the Court intervenes, the Providus bank will not return the Plaintiff’s money traced by Interpol into the accounts of the 6th, 7th and 8th Defendants domiciled in the bank. That it is in the interest of justice to grant this application.
“That the Defendants will not be prejudiced by the grant of this Originating Summons, more so, when the individuals behind the 2nd to 8th Defendants are on the run,” he said.
The bank’s counsel Ifeoluwa Badejo submitted that the bank reversed the sum of N50,700,000, from the account of the 6th defendant to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission following the order issued by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, and that same was not done with intention of interfering with justice in this case.
Justice Lifu in his judgement, ordered as follows: that the first defendant, that is Providus bank limited “is hereby ordered or directed to move or transfer the plaintiff’s fund in the account of the 6th, 7th and 8th defendants to the plaintiff’s account kept with her.
“Since the sum of N50,700,000 has so far been reversed, the remaining balance in the total sum of N329,454,650.28 that is, less the N50,700,000 should be transferred to the plaintiff’s account forthwith.
“A cost of N100,000 is hereby awarded against Providus Bank Limited but in favour of Aqua 10 Nigeria Limited.”