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Court Officials Raid Bet9ja Over ‘Name, Seal Infringement’

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Bet9ja

Sheriffs of the Federal High Court, Lagos on Thursday raided a Lagos office of online bookmaker Bet9ja and recovered a seal suspected of infringing the copyright of Lotto9ja Ltd, owned by rival bookmaker, Western Lotto Nigeria Ltd.

The raid followed an Anton Piller injunction granted by Justice Taiwo Taiwo of a Federal High Court in Abuja on August 8 in favour of Western Lotto.

An Anton Piller order authorises an applicant to search premises and seize evidence without prior warning.

The sheriffs and Western Lotto officials, protected by policemen, executed the order at a Bet9ja premises at 9, Funsho Williams Avenue, Surulere, Lagos.

Justice Taiwo granted the order in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/925/2019, following an ex parte application by Western Lotto through its counsel, Mr. John Baiyeshea, SAN, for Chief Oluwole Olanipekun, SAN.

The first and second applicants in the suit are: Western Lotto Nig. Ltd and Lotto9ja Ltd, while the first to third respondents are: Registrar of Trademarks, K.C. Gaming Networks Ltd (owners of Bet9ja) and K.C. Lottery Company Ltd.

The applicants told the judge that Western Lotto launched a new company in July called “Lotto9ja” after registering with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the office of Trademark at the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.

It averred that in the course of preparing for the launch, it discovered that K.C. Gaming Networks Ltd was also planning to use the same name that it registered with the CAC.

It further averred that through its lawyers, it warned K .C. Gaming Networks to desist, but the company allegedly continued to brand its POS terminals, T-shirts and other souvenir with the Lotto9ja trademark.

The applicants sought an Anton Piller order and prayed the court to, among others, restrain the defendants.

Upholding their application, Justice Taiwo held: “An order of Anton Piller injunction is hereby made directing the 2nd and 3rd defendants, to forthwith permit the Sheriff to enter and search the 2nd and 3rd defendants’ premises located at 9, Funsho Williams Avenue, by Fire Service Station, Ojuelegba bus stop, Lagos.

The order also authorised the Sheriff to search “any other premises and sales/storage outlets anywhere in Nigeria belonging to the 2nd and 3rd defendants or any of their agents operating under the name “Bet9ja” or “Lotto9ja” for the purpose of taking possession of all products, equipment and products branded and/or sold in the name/brand “Lotto9ja” (or its variants “9jalotto”, lottonaija”, “naijalotto”) and removing them therefrom into the custody and possession of this honourable court pending the hearing and determination of this action.”

The judge also restrained the Registrar of Trademarks from “accepting, publishing or approving any other application for the registration of the trade/business name “Lotto9ja” or it variants “9ja lotto” “Lottonaija” as trademarks or part of any trademarks, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

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N240bn Debt: AMCON Takes Over Oil Magnate Festus Fadeyi’s Pan Ocean Assets

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The Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, on Thursday, July 2, took possession of Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria Limited, and its affiliate companies owned by billionaire oil mogul, Festus Fadeyi, over an unpaid N240 billion loan debt.

Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had on June 22, granted an ex-parte application by counsel to AMCON, Kunle Ogunba SAN, to take interim possession of the assets of Pan Ocean over the unpaid loan. The court also granted the application by AMCON to take over several oil mining and oil prospecting licenses exemplified by OML 147, 152 and 98 respectively owned by the company. Properties in Victoria Island, Lagos among several others were also included for possession.

“An order of this honourable court granting interim judicial protection to AMCON, the receiver/manager (and its duly appointed nominee; Mr. Kunle Ogunba SAN) appointed herein over the assets/businesses of the defendants by virtue of its deed of appointment dated March 5, 2020, in furtherance of the mutually binding covenants of the parties in the various facility/offer letters pending the determination of this suit is granted.” Justice Liman had ruled

However, Pan Ocean through its counsel, Oluwemimo Ogunde (SAN), had filed an application before the court asking it to stay the execution of the takeover order pending the determination of a suit marked, FHC/L/CS/552/2020, which is also a subject of an appeal before the Court of Appeal in Lagos. Ogunde described AMCON’s ex parte application leading to the takeover order as an abuse of court process, which he said the court rules frown upon.

A statement from AMCON announcing the takeover of the company’s assets reads:

“Hon. Justice A.M. Liman of the Federal High Court, presiding over the suit between the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) vs Everest Nominees Limited and Dr. Bolaji Ogundare a subsidiary of Pan Ocean Group has ordered AMCON and its assignee to take over all the assets of the companies.

Pan Ocean Group is promoted by Dr. Festus Fadeyi, a flamboyant Lagos oil and Gas businessman whose total indebtedness to AMCON is over N240 billion.

“The court had also granted an order appointing AMCON as a Receiver Manager (in accordance with its 2019 Act as amended) and its designated human nominees (Mr. Kunle Ogunba Esq. SAN) its privies and assigns over the assets of Pan Ocean, their corporate guarantors, cronies and cohorts to take over a number of prime assets of Pan Ocean over some irreconcilable huge debt owed AMCON by both Everest Nominees Limited, Pan Ocean Group and their promoters as well as directors.

The court in suit No. FHC/L/CS/722/20 ordered AMCON and its assigned designate to take over several oil mining and oil prospecting licenses that are exemplified by OML 147 (formerly OPL 275), OML 152 and OML 98 respectively. The order also mandated AMCON to took over the property lying and situate at No. 33b, Adebayo Doherty Street, off Admiralty Way Lekki Phase One in Lagos State as well as the property lying and being specifically known as FF Towers, Plot 13/14 Ligali Ayorinde Avenue, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Others include another property lying and specifically known as No. 8, Modupe Alakija Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos; the property lying and specifically known as No. 10/12, Modupe Alakija Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos christened and identified as Grand Villa; No. 14, Modupe Alakija Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos; another property lying and known as Ark Towers situate at No. 17, Ligalli Ayorinde Avenue, Victoria Island, Lagos as well as Plot 5 and Plot 822, Samuel Manuwa Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Aside these prime assets of the obligors, Justice Liman also ordered AMCON to take over any other assets, businesses, affairs, undertakings, interests etc belonging to the defendants wherever same may be found. He also directed the Inspector-General of Police and his commissioners to assist AMCON and its designates as well as the Court Bailiffs in taking over the assets on behalf of the Corporation.”

Meanwhile, the management of Pan Ocean Oil group has expressed dismay at what it described as an attempted illegal takeover of its properties by AMCON. In a statement released, the firm said on July 2nd, 2020, a team led by Kunle Ogunba, disrupted work activities at two of its facilities under the guise of executing a court order. The firm noted that the action was taken despite a pending lawsuit marked FHC/L/CS/552/2020 which is before the Court of Appeal in Lagos. The statement in part reads

“Our lawyer, Mr. Oluwemimo Ogunde (SAN) had notified Justice Mohammed Liman of a Federal High Court in Lagos, about the pending suit and prayed His Lordship to stay execution of a court order around Pan Ocean’s assets. The attempted takeover of our assets by AMCON and its lawyer is therefore condemnable.

Pan Ocean accessed funding from the banking system to facilitate expansion plans which were based on sound investment advice and projections. The funds were invested in assets which are verifiable and within Nigeria. We remain committed to working with our financial partners to resolve all outstanding issues.”

We are committed to the rule of law and due process and will continue to rely on legal due process to resolve this issues despite the provocation and lawlessness of the party. We call on the leadership of the judiciary and all lovers of democracy and the rule of law to call the erring parties to order.”

 

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Zenith Bank Emerges Number One In Nigeria By Tier-1 Capital

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Zenith Bank Plc has again emerged as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the 2020 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking published by The Banker Magazine.

The bank climbed 29 spots from the 415 position it occupied in 2019 to 386 in the 2020 global ranking of banks, thus retaining its position as the number one Tier-1 bank in Nigeria with Tier-1 Capital of $2.79 billion, representing an increase of 16.1 per cent on the $2.40 billion recorded in the 2019 rankings.

The ranking, published in the July 2020 edition of The Banker Magazine, a subsidiary of the Financial Times Group, UK, was based on the 2019 year-end Tier-1 capital of banks globally. According to the Ranking Report, Zenith Bank extended its lead over the second-placed bank in Nigeria. It’s financial performance for the year was underpinned by a 29 per cent increase in non-interest income, with an improved market share in both retail and corporate sectors.

In his reaction, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive, Ebenezer Onyeagwu said: “this ranking, which further attests to our market leadership, is the outcome of a well-thought-out strategy of always delighting and creating value for our teeming customers through a broad range of superior product offerings, best-in-class service and top-of-the-range technology.”

Tier-1 capital describes the capital adequacy of a bank, and it is the core measure of a bank’s financial strength from a regulator’s point of view. Tier-1 Capital, includes loss-absorbing capital, which denotes common stock, disclosed reserves, retained earnings and minority interests in the equity of subsidiaries that are less than wholly owned.

He said Zenith Bank has clearly distinguished itself as the leader in the Nigerian financial services industry through superior service quality, unique customer experience and sound financial indices, pointing out that the bank has a knack for setting the pace and raising benchmarks in the digital space with several firsts in the deployment of innovative products, solutions and an assortment of alternative channels that ensure convenience, speed and safety of transactions.

In the year ended December 31, 2019, the bank posted profit after tax (PAT) of N208.8 billion, achieving the feat as the first Nigerian Bank to cross the N200 billion mark. In the recently released Q1 2020 unaudited financial results, the bank also recorded an improved result over the corresponding period in 2019, with gross earnings rising by 6% to N166.8 billion and profit before tax (PBT) growing 3% to N58.8 billion.

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BREAKING: Access Bank To Reverse February-April Stamp Duty Deductions

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Access Bank has offered to pay stamp duty charge for February to April on behalf of its customers.

It also said deductions made between Saturday and Sunday would be reversed to customers.

In a statement on Sunday, the bank said it recognised that it is a tough period for customers.

The bank’s customers had complained on various social media platforms on Saturday and Sunday over stamp duty deductions.

“We have considered your feedback and have decided to pay the stamp duty on our customers behalf for the affected period only,” the bank said in a statement.

“This means that individuals and SMEs who were debited for the accumulated stamp duty charge for February to April 2020 will be refunded.”

In an earlier statement, the bank had notified customers that it did not deduct stamp duty charges on transactions that occurred between February 1, 2020, and April 30, 2020.

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