Swift Networks, a telecommunications company that provides internet and mobile phone services in Nigeria, has denied what it termed as “false” and “baseless” accusations which formed the basis of an ex parte order granted against it by a Federal High court in Lagos, restricting it from accessing its account with the plaintiff, Union Bank and 24 other banks.
According to a statement which was seen by Technext, the telco company said that it would be “rigorously opposing” the order in court while also trying to reach an amicable resolution with Union Bank. It also said that it was neither informed about the order either by Union Bank nor did the court reach out to it to get its statement before the order was granted.
The statement reads;
“The board of directors and shareholders of Swift Networks Limited have just been made aware of a federal high court ex parte injunction granted to Union Bank. We wish to state that the allegations that formed the basis of this ex parte injunction are false and baseless, and as such, we shall be rigorously opposing the ex parte order in court while also trying to reach an amicable resolution with Union Bank.”Swift Networks
“We were not informed by Union Bank, nor did the court hear our own side before this injunction was granted”, it added.
Swift Networks is alleged to owe Union Bank up to N7 billion and the bank, on Wednesday secured a court order freezing 25 of Swift Networks’ accounts to stop the company from spending its money.
Yet, despite learning of the restriction imposed on it by the court order, the company insisted that it is still in operation and urged customers to get in touch.
“Be that as it may, we wish to reassure our esteemed customers and stakeholders that our services continue to run 24/7 and we can still be reached through any of our channels listed on our website,” the company said.
Union Bank vs Swift Networks: What you should know
Last week, a Federal High Court in Lagos granted Union Bank Plc. an Interim Order of Mareva Injunction restraining Swift Networks Limited from accessing its monies up to the tune of N7,037,410,548.23 in 25 banks pending the determination of an alleged debt recovery suit.
Justice Daniel Osiagor issued the order after hearing the counsel for the Plaintiff/Applicant, Union Bank, Mr Temilolu Adamolekun. He moved the motion ex parte to protect the respondents in suit FHC/L/CS/1366/2023. Swift Networks is the defendant, while the banks are the second to 25th respondents.
Besides the Plaintiff Union Bank, the other 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.
Others on the list include 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.
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.”
Specifically, Justice Osiagor, after reading the affidavit in support of 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 second 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 or its equivalent in any foreign currency.
“That an Interim Order of Mareva Injunction is granted restraining the second to 25th respondents and their agents or anyone whatsoever from releasing to the defendant or any of its affiliates, 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 further directed the second 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 adjourned till September 27 for a 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, Plaintiff agreed to grant various credit facilities to 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, Plaintiff availed 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 plaintiff’s 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 September 28, 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,” the plaintiff claimed.
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