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Suit Seeking To Shut Down Walter Smith Petroman Oil Limited Operation(s) Stalled

***As Absence Of Justice Oguntoyinbo Frustrates Hearing

The absence of Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria, has stalled hearing of a suit seeking to wind up the business operation(s) of an oil company, Walter Smith Petroman Oil Limited for alleged insolvency.

No new date has however been fixed for the entertainment of the legal war.

It would be recalled that a oil and gas service company, Unitech Drilling had approached the court seeking to wind up Walter Smith Petroman Oil Limited over alleged failure to pay the money for services rendered to it.

In the suit designated FHC/L/CS/1629/18 before Justice Oguntoyinbo, Unitech stated that Walter Smith engaged its services for the provision of directional drilling and measurement between 2015 and 2016 and that a total of four oil wells were drilled at Izombe field in Imo State, the last well of which was delivered  March, 2016.

Despite the steady sale of crude oil produced from those wells, the applicant claimed that Walter Smith blatantly refused to pay its local contractors including Unitech, with an addition that whenever the company chose to pay, a paltry sum is doled out to contractors out of the total invoice value.

“The dole-out would be repeated about four to five months after the last payment, thereby jeopardizing any financial plan that the contractor had put in place”, it stated.

Unitech claimed that the development left it indebted to its bankers, who financed the acquisition of relevant tools deployed to execute the contract for Walter Smith and to other sub-contractors, who provided associated services during the contract.

Unitech claimed to have approached  Walter Smith sometime in 2017 and sought its consideration and approval for an accelerated settlement of their contract bills, in view of the mounting pressure from their bankers and that at the end of the meeting, the defendant presented a payment plan, proposing to spread the remittance between August, 2017 to June, 2018.

It said that based on that payment plan, Unitech claimed to have in turn made commitment to its creditors adding that when the defendant defaulted, it inflicted a serious dent on the company’s credibility.

“Walter Smith had not kept to any of the payment milestones and no reason had been given for defaulting on their payment plan.  

“Rather than meet its payment milestones/obligations, Walter Smith continued to dole out piece-meal payments whenever it pleased it. 

“Unitech has written several letters to Walter Smith on this default but received no positive response”, it said.

The defendant, in its response has however denied the claims of the applicant.

Walter Smith claimed to have been making payments to Unitech in accordance with a payment plan agreed to by the parties.

The defendant claimed that Unitech accepted the payment plan as a mark of good faith.

Insisting on being solvent, the defendant claimed to have paid a part of the debt and have been paying periodically in accordance with the payment plan between parties.

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