Court Restrains Swift Networks Limited From Accessing N7bn In 25 Banks

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On July 19, 2023, the Federal High Court in Lagos granted Union Bank Plc an interim order of Mareva Injunction. This injunction restrains Swift Networks Limited and its agents from accessing or dealing with funds totaling N7 billion across 25 banks. The order will remain in effect pending the final determination of an alleged debt recovery suit.

The motion exparte was presented by Mr. Temilolu Adamolekun, the counsel for the Plaintiff/Applicant, Union Bank. The purpose of the exparte application was to protect the subject matter (res) in the ongoing lawsuit. Mr. Adamolekun cited several legal provisions, including Section 13 of the Federal High Court Act, Order 26 Rules 1, 2(1), 3, Order 26 Rules 8(1), 9, and 10, Order 28 Rules 1(2) and 2(1), as well as Order 40 Rules 1(3) and (4) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019, in support of the application. Additionally, the court’s inherent jurisdiction was invoked in making the application.

In the suit, Swift Networks Limited was named as the Defendant, and the 2nd to 25th Respondents were the banks involved. These banks are Access Bank Plc, Citibank Nigeria Limited, Ecobank Nigeria Limited, Fidelity Bank Plc, First Bank Of Nigeria Plc, First City Monument Bank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Globus Bank Limited, Heritage Bank Plc, Jaiz Bank Limited, Keystone Bank Limited, Lotus Bank Limited, Parallex, Polaris Bank Limited, Providus Bank Limited, Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria Limited, Standard Chartered Bank Limited, Sterling Bank Plc, Suntrust Bank Nigeria Limited, Titan Trust Bank, United Bank of Nigeria, Unity Bank Plc, Wema Bank Plc, and Zenith Bank Plc.

Specifically, Justice Osiagor, after reading the Affidavit in Support, the Exhibits attached and the Written Address, ordered as follows:

“That an interim order of Mareva Injunction is granted restraining the Defendant (Swift Networks), its agents, privies and/or assigns or otherwise howsoever from dealing with any of the monies standing to its credit in all of its accounts, records or howsoever held with the 2nd to 25th Respondents and also its monies standing to its credit in custody of the Plaintiff up to the tune of N7,037,410,548.23 (billion) or its equivalent in any foreign currency.

“That an Interim order of Mareva Injunction is granted restraining the 2nd to 25th Respondents and their agents or anyone whatsoever from releasing to the Defendant or any of its Affiliate, any monies, funds or any other instrument belonging to the Defendant, to the tune of N7,037,410,548.23 or its equivalent in any foreign currency that may be or found in the custody or possession of the 2nd to 25th Respondents.”

The court also granted an Interim Injunction restraining Swift Networks by itself or through anyone from tampering with or dealing in any manner with any of its assets/properties in whatsoever form within the jurisdiction of the court, “particularly but not limited to all the assets/properties within the premises of the Defendants at 31 Saka Tinubu Street, Victoria Island, Lagos State.”

The court further directed the 2nd to 25th Respondents to “disclose on oath whatever sum of money that may be in their custody belonging to the Defendant for further direction of this Honourable Court.”

Justice Osiagor then adjourned till September 27 for hearing of the Motion on Notice.

According to the Plaintiff/Applicants, the grounds of this Application are as follows:

“In the course of the bank/customer relationship, the Plaintiff agreed to grant various credit facilities to the Defendant for several purposes.

“The Defendant failed to meet its repayment obligation(s) to the Plaintiff, however, by its letter of 9th November, 2017, it requested that its debt be restructured by the Plaintiff/Applicant.

“The Plaintiff granted the Defendant’s Application for a restructure and further availed it with other credit facilities. Hence the offer letter of 29th December, 2017.

“Furthermore, the Defendant failed to perform its repayment obligation arising from the offer letter of 29th December, 2017.”

The Plaintiff/Applicants averred that owing to the Defendant’s failure in meeting up with its repayment obligation, the Plaintiff further restructured the Defendant’s indebtedness to it by its offer letter of 28th September, 2020.

It added that “Under the offer letter of 28 September, 2020, the Plaintiff availed the Defendant with a term loan facility to the tune of N7, 674,292,000.00.

“It is also the clear agreement of parties that the source of repayment shall be from the cash flow from the Defendant’s business operation and other cash flow sources available to the Defendant.

“To the Plaintiffs bewilderment, the facilities matured without the expected receivables as the Defendant failed to meet its repayment obligation to the Plaintiff under the offer letter of 28th September, 2020 which was duly accepted by the Defendant.

“It is also the clear agreement of parties that any breach of the terms of the offer letter shall constitute a default and that the entire indebtedness of the Defendant shall immediately become due and payable upon such default.”

“That these funds are certainly the res oft h i s suit and this court is urged to protect the funds in the very likely event that judgment is entered in favour of the Plaintiff and for such judgment not to be entered in vain”.