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Alleged Unpaid Loan: Oil Firm Loses N1.5bn Subsidy Claim To Sterling Bank


BY FRANCIS IWUCHUKWU, LAGOS 

Justice Nicholas Oweibo of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria, has directed the Federal Ministry of Finance and Debt Management Office, DMO, to pay all monies and other payment  instruments  amounting to N1. 558, 214, 525. 79 billion accrued to Obat Oil Petroleum Limited as subsidy claims to Sterling Bank Plc.

Justice Oweibo equally restrained Obat Oil and Petroleum Limited, its agents, privies and any other person on behalf of the oil company, from dealing  any monies, instruments, sovereign debt notes and promissory notes standing in the company's accounts, records and whatsoever, held with the Federal Ministry of Finance and DMO, to the tune of N1. 558, 214, 525.79 billion.

The judge also ordered the Ministry of Finance and DMO to disclose on oath the total sum of money, funds, Sovereign Debit Notes (SDNs) either processed or yet to processed within the purview of Petroleum Subsidy Scheme in their custody or possession or that may come into their possession or custody belonging to Obat Oil and Petroleum Limited for the further direction of the court.

The judge arrived at these decisions while delivering ruling on a mareva order application to preserve the monies and other financial instruments as subsidy payment, due to Obat Oil and Petroleum Limited by the Federal Ministry of Finance and DMO, instituted by Sterling Bank and Petrocam Trading Nigeria Limited.

According to the judge, the order will subsist till the determination of the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1100/19, filed against Obat oil and Petroleum Limited by the Sterling Bank Plc and Petrocam Trading Nigeria Limited.

In praying Justice Oweibo to grant the mareva order, Sterling Bank Plc and Petrocam Trading Nigeria Limited, had argued that the request for the order was due to the failure of the Obat oil company to pay back credit facilities of N1, 558, 214, 525. 79 billion granted to it.

The plaintiffs in a 59 paragraph-affidavit had equally stated that the oil firm, after getting allocation from the Federal Government, FG, through Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPPR, for importation of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, approached Petrocam Trading Nigeria Limited to finance the important of the Petroleum product. 

Consequently, according to the deponent, the Petrocam applied to the bank for enhancement of its existing trade facility to accommodate the transaction of Obat oil and Petroleum Limited.

The deponent further revealed that having considered the application of Petrocam, the bank graciously granted the facility enhancement of $3 million USD, to accommodate the importation of the Petroleum product for the importation transaction of Obat Oil through a joint venture transaction between the second plaintiff and Obat Oil.

It was further the contention of the deponent that for the proper management of the transaction, the second plaintiff and Obat Oil entered into a service agreement on April 25, 2014, which enabled the second plaintiff to utilize its credit facility with the bank for the benefit of Obat Oil, with an addition that Obat Oil opened a collection account with the bank to receive the receivables on the sales and all payments from the FG.

The deponent also stated that based on this agreement, Obat Oil applied to the bank at different times, for opening Form M and establishment of letters of credits facilities under the umbrella of the second plaintiff's credit line, and that on the basis of the agreement, the bank secured approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria, forms numbers, MF20140131150;   MF20140064023; MF20140149022; MF20140101134 and MF20140101100.

Meanwhile, hearing on the motion on notice on alleged indebtedness has been adjourned till August 15, 2119.

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