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Sahara Group in Settlement Talks with Ecobank over Loan Dispute

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Nigerian oil trader, Sahara Group Limited and its associated companies informed a Lagos Federal High Court that the oil group had begun settlement talks with Ecobank Nigeria Limited over a $14million (about N5.4billion) loan dispute

Sahara’s lawyer Bode Olanipekun (SAN), told Justice Rilwan Aikawa that both parties had held talks.

He said: ‘We agreed that the court should grant a short adjournment to see if we are able to reach an amicable agreement.’

Ecobank’s lawyer, Mr Kunle Ogunba (SAN) of Insolvency Forte, said Olanipekun’s submission was “accurate”.

Justice Aikawa adjourned until the suit until July 10 for a report of settlement or hearing of pending motions.

Ecobank had asked the federal court to enter a summary judgment in its favour against Sahara and its associated companies.

Ogunba sought the hearing of his pending motion for judgment for the sum of $9,125,119.34, which he said the firms admitted owing.

Sahara Energy Resources Limited, Isle of Man, and Sahara Group Limited had prayed for an order stopping Ecobank from carrying out a ‘unilateral review of interest rates’ on loans they obtained.

The bank filed a counter-claim, insisting that it ‘reserves the right to review its interest rates from time to time in line with prevailing market conditions.’

The bank claimed that based on computation, the firms owed it $14,069,458.30 ‘being the principal sum and interest due to the counter-claimant as of 21st August, 2019.’

Ecobank said though the companies offered to pay it $9,125,119.34 ‘as a full and final settlement of their indebtedness,’ it remained firm in its demand for $14,069,458.30 as their debt as of August 21, 2019.

The bank urged the court to, in the meantime, order the firms to pay the $9,125,119.34, which they admitted owing ‘after the joint reconciliation carried out by parties.’

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