Facts have emerged how Fidelity Bank PLC shutdown Titanic View Hotel in Owerri, following what they described as the inability of the management of the said hotel to meet a debt obligation with the bank.
The bank had about two weeks ago sealed off Titanic View Hotel Owerri with armed police officers from Zone 9 Umuahia, throwing out about 350 workers from both Titanic View and Pretoria City hotels back into the labour market.
But our investigation indicates that the accusation of inability by Titanic View Hotel to meet its debt obligation was a ruse as the hotel was in no way indebted to the bank nor was it used as collateral.
Our source who craved anonymity said that the facts was that the owner of Titanic View Hotel Owerri, Mr. Ifeanyi Opara, who also owns Pretoria City Hotel had in 2011 secured some loan of N240M from the bank and used Pretoria City Hotel as collateral. This was after he had insured the Pretoria City Hotel with Standard Insurance PLC with N204M premium.
According to our source who said he was privy to the transactions, Fidelity Bank had brought the Standard Insurance PLC to ensure Pretoria City Hotel, because the bank is the broker to the insurance company. Our source added that the loan facility obtained with Pretoria City Hotel had been serviced regularly until the hotel was burnt.
Following the destruction of the hotel by fire and the laying off of the workers in 2015, our sources revealed to Ifeanyicy.com, that Mr. Opara approached the bank as the broker for indemnity.
“When we approached the Bank for the indemnity for the hotel, the bank asked us to provide the required documents, including police report on the fire incidence, the Fire Service Report, the report from the surveyor and bill from two contractors for the rebuilding of burnt hotel. We provided all the documents required but the bank refused act on it”, said our source.
He added: “But since the bank refused to indemnify the hotel we took a legal action against the bank to compel them to indemnify us, and since the case was pending in court and the hotel was no longer generating revenue to service the loan for which it was used as collateral, we could not continue to service the loan, waiting for the matter to be disposed of at the court.”
Our source further revealed that in a shocking move, Fidelity Bank PLC abandoned the case at the State High Court Owerri and obtained an interim order from the Federal High Court in Owerri to close down the Titanic View Hotel, a hotel said not to have any business with the bank. The order was executed about two weeks ago with armed police men from Zone 9 Umuahia.
Further investigations revealed that the management of Titanic View had approached the Federal High Court to vacate the order since the affected hotel was not indebted to the bank nor was it used for collateral.
Our source also said that it was clear that the Federal High Court was deceived into granting the order, without knowing that the matter was pending at the state high court Owerri. He said that the hotel was hopeful of coming up again for business and recalling its workers who were laid off as a result of the unmitigated closure of the hotel.