By Adelani Adepegba
Diamond Bank Plc has begun moves to declare an oil magnate, Mr. Emeka Offor, bankrupt following an alleged N2bn debt owed by his company, Chrome Oil Services.
According to a document obtained by SUNDAY PUNCH, the bank had granted a series of loans to Chrome oil which amounted to N750m, but the firm defaulted in the payment of the facility which had accrued to over N2bn by December, 2011.
Investigations further showed that the oil firm allegedly reneged on its promises to pay the loan contrary to the agreement it entered with the bank, before it was granted the facility.
According to the bank, after repeated demands to pay the debt, then in excess of N1.3bn, the company in October, 2006 made a proposal to the bank to pay N750m as final settlement within 12 months, through monthly instalments of N62.5m with effect from December, 2010.
"The bank accepted the offer on the condition that if the company failed to abide by the monthly payment agreement, the concession granted it would be cancelled and it would be liable to repay the total outstanding sum, including the interest suspended.
"It also threatened to sell the company's property in Asokoro, Abuja, which the company mortgaged to it. Offor who personally guaranteed the loan repaid only one instalment of N62. 5m within the 12 months limit that the company set out," the bank said on Friday.
When all efforts by the bank to recover the money failed, it served Offor, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party and his company notice that the concession had been withdrawn and that the quantum of the indebtedness, with interest application that was hitherto suspended, had increased to N2bn.
A letter to Offor dated March 1, 2012, read, "Take notice that as a consequence of your company's unwillingness to repay its debts and in deference to your representation to the bank in the deed of personal guarantee, which you voluntarily signed and which it relied on to grant the loans that led to the debt, we hereby call-in your guarantee by demanding that you personally repay the debt within seven days from the date of the letter, failing which the bank will commence steps to declare you bankrupt for inability to repay your debts, to enable a liquidator to be appointed over your assets for it to recover its funds."
Offor could not be reached on Friday as he did not respond to several calls and a text message sent to his phone by our correspondent.
The text read, "Sir, I will like to get your comment on the moves by Diamond Bank to declare you bankrupt over a N2bn debt."