Duke to pay N537m debt in 12 hours

A former Cross River State Governor Donald Duke on Monday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that he will pay his N537,334,360.77 debt to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in less than 12 hours.

Duke, through his counsel, Mr Edoigiawerie Omoruyi, told Justice Nicholas Oweibo that he had approached AMCON with a promise to liquidate the debt before the end of yesterday (September 2).

He prayed for an adjournment to enable him settle the case out of court. AMCON, on August 8, through its lawyer Juliet Reeds, obtained the court’s order to take interim possession of Duke’s Ikoyi home.

The court also authorised corporation and United Bank for Africa (UBA) to, in the interim, take possession of funds in the accounts of the ex-governor and others in any bank.

The judge gave the order pursuant to AMCON’s and UBA’s August 8 ex parte application.

The applicants listed Stonehedge Investment Limited, Duke and his wife, Owanari Bob-Manuel Duke, as first to third defendants in the suit.

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When proceedings resumed yesterday around 2 p.m, Omoruyi said Duke was willing to liquidate the debt before yesterday’s midnight deadline for repayment of the loan.

AMCON’s lawyer Austin Erhabor of Benson Reeds Legal Practitioners, confirmed that Duke approached the corporation with a pledge to pay the debt before midnight.

Erhabor added: “In the spirit of trust and fairness, we will concede to an adjournment to enable us finalise the possible settlement.”

Justice Oweibo upheld Duke’s prayer and adjourned till September 11 for a report of the settlement.

AMCON and UBA, on August 8, prayed the court for “an order of interim attachment, possession and custody of the property being 3, Temple Road, Ikoyi, Lagos”.

They averred that the property was mortgaged by Duke “as collateral in securing the first respondent’s indebtedness to the applicants”.

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