By Abraham Olatunbosun
The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Polaris Bank Limited and 11PLC have approached the Supreme Court seeking to quash the recent judgement of the Appeal Court nullifying the sale of Lagos Contintental Hotel to 11PLC.
In a statement issued yesterday, 11PLC stated that the parties appealed to the Supreme Court vide its Notice of Appeal dated December 5, 2022.
The statement signed by a senior legal officer of the company ,Samuel Ozeh further disclosed that the parties have also filed a motion for stay of execution of the Appeal Court’s judgement, pending the determination of the suit by the Supreme Court.
According to the statement, the motion for stay of execution, copies of which were made available to journalists, was also dated December 5, 2022.
“This move has effectively arrested the ability of Milan Industries Limited to enforce the Appeal Court’s judgement and would compel the parties to maintain status quo pending the final determination of the appeal by the Supreme Court,” the statement said.
“In view of this situation, the ownership and operation of the Hotel by 11 Hospitality is not in any way impacted. “11 Hospitality remains upbeat in the circumstance as its acquisition of the Hotel followed due process and it believes AMCON assigned a valid title to it pursuant to the extensive powers vested in the Corporation under section 34 of the AMCON Act (as amended),” the statement added.
Recall that AMCON acquired the Lagos Continental Hotel as an eligible bank asset following the failure of Milan Industries Limited to repay its loan to Skye Bank plc (now Polaris Bank Limited) to the tune of N15 billion with the interest element of the loan verging on N30 billion at the time.
The loan may have partly contributed to the plunging of the bank into financial distress and thereby necessitated AMCON’s acquisition of its non-performing loans, including that of Milan Industries Limited.
In 2020, AMCON, in line with its powers under section 34 of the AMCON Act (as amended) assigned its interest in the Hotel to 11 Hospitality Limited, a subsidiary of 11plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria plc). But the sale was challenged by Milan Industries Limited at the Federal High Court, which dismissed the suit and affirmed the sale by AMCON, after it found no merit in Milan’s claim of having repaid the huge loan it took from the Polaris Bank Limited.
Milan Industries Limited then appealed the decision of the Federal High Court, and the Court of Appeal in its judgement set aside the decision of the lower court.
AMCON, 11PLC and Polaris Bank have approached the Supreme Court to nullify the judgement of the Appeal Court.