Ascon Oil Company Ltd has denied a claim by Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC that it retook possession of its petrol station at Block 36, Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1, unlawfully.
Ascon said it recovered the filling station with the assistance of court bailiffs pursuant to a July 24 order of Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
It rebutted the bank’s claim that it resorted to self-help and that its actions were contemptuous.
Stanbic IBTC had in a statement on August 11 said that no court order was granted for the takeover of the property.
“No court order was granted to Ascon to warrant their extra-judicial action, which they undertook in forcefully seizing a petrol station validly belonging to a third party, in total defiance and disregard of the ruling of Justice Liman of the Federal High Court on 24 July 2020.”
But debunking Stanbic’s position in its own statement on Thursday, Ascon said, “We note that Stanbic IBTC PLC in its statement on August 11, 2020 stated that there was no order granted by the Federal High Court on the basis of which Ascon Oil Company Limited took possession of its petrol station at Block 36, Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase 1.
“Ascon Oil Company in its application dated 27th May, 2020 had requested for an order of court setting aside its earlier ex parte orders dated 15th May, 2020 which granted Olawale Akoni (SAN), a receiver purportedly appointed by Stanbic, police protection for the preservation of Ascon’s petrol station as well as restrained Ascon from obstructing, interfering with the performance of his duties as receiver.
“On the 24th July, 2020, Honourable Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in his ruling setting aside his earlier order in part on the basis of fair hearing, stated that Ascon ought to have been put on notice after the ex parte order was made on the 15th of May 2020.
“In setting aside the order, the court relied on the case of Unibiz Commercial Ltd V. Commercial Bank Credit Lyonnais Limited (2003) 6 NWLR (PT 816) 402.
“Justice Liman said “I therefore hold that the order was made in breach of the provisions of Section 33(1) of the constitution. It follows that part of the appeal succeeds and I therefore set aside the order made pursuant to the 2nd prayer of the application restraining the appellant, its privies, assign, from doing anything that would prevent the receiver from performing his lawful duties as a receiver.
“Based on the foregoing I am inclined to set aside the order made pursuant to the 2nd prayer in the respondent’s Ex parte application restraining the respondents, their employees, officers, agents, servants, privies, assigns, or any other person or group of persons whatsoever, deriving authorities from Ascon or otherwise acting through them from obstructing, preventing, disturbing and or interfering with the applicant’s exercise of its powers, performance of its duties and functions as receiver of Ascon.”
Ascon said it was on the basis of the above ruling that it “interfered with the activities of the receiver” appointed pursuant to disputed Deed of Legal Mortgaged.
The oil firm stated that it was on the basis of the earlier order of May 15, 2020, which had restrained Ascon from obstructing the activities of the receiver “that Stanbic had taken over possession of Ascon’s petrol station and Ascon did not interfere in any manner because of the erstwhile pending injunction against it.
It said in the light that the order was set aside in part by the same court that granted it, “The bailiffs of the Federal High Court on August 5, 2020, served the ruling on RainOil and restored possession of the petrol station to Ascon”.
The firm further stated that it had notified the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission of possible “collusion anti-competitive acts” in the saga.