By Akin Kuponyi
A federal high court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos Nigeria has prevented the Mongolian Nigerian businessman, Sir Emeka Offor, and three other directors of a limited liability company, KAZTEC ENGINEERING LIMITED, from withdrawing or processing any part of the sum of $ 8, $ 5 million, or whatever, credited to the company’s account domiciled with one of the eight commercial banks listed in court.
The other directors affected by the order are Kester Enwereome, Tochukwu Odukwe and Monito Barraquias, while a sister company of Kaztec Engineering Limited, Interstate Electrics Limited, and three ocean-going vessels MV Ekulo Chinyere, MV Ekulo Spirit and MV Ekulo Explorer are also co-defendants in this lawsuit.
The court also issued an order for the provisional seizure of all payments owed by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria to Kaztec Engineering under the contract for the Trans-Niger pipeline project from Oghale to TP1, pending the delivery of ” a satisfactory and sufficient guarantee to guarantee the claim of Unity Bank in the amount of N6. $ 1 billion and $ 133. 1 million with 21% interest.
The court further ordered Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria and eight commercial banks registered with the court to prepare and file, within seven days, an affidavit disclosing the Kaztec Company balance in their account or any credit balance. of the company and Interstate Electrics SociÃ©tÃ© anonyme.
The court order followed an exparte petition filed and argued in court by a Lagos lawyer, lawyer Oluwafemi Atoyebi SAN on behalf of Unity Bank of Nigeria PLC, claiming that the two limited liability companies Kaztec Engineering limited, Interstate Electrics Limited and their four directors, Sir Emeka Offor, Kester Enwereome, Tochukwu Odukwe and Nonito Barraquias are jointly and severally indebted to Unity Bank Plc for the sum of 6 N. 1 billion and $ 133. 1 million, ie the total outstanding loan under the various facilities granted to them at their request and which they have not repaid despite repeated requests.
According to an affidavit in support of the exparte petition under oath by Unity Bank Plc legal counsel Mr. Ndubuisi Ugbede and filed in court by Mr. Oluwafemi Atoyebi, the depositor claimed that in June 2014, Unity bank Plc in Kaztec Engineering’s application granted the company a contract facility in the amount of N 3.4 billion to execute an Addax Petroleum contract for the fabrication and installation of an offshore pipeline and a top site for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. But when the loan term expired, the company refused to repay the loan, the outstanding amount has now been accumulated at N5. 8 billion.
Prior to the initial 3.4 billion naira loan to the company, Unity Bank Plc issued three separate bank bonds in the amount of 54 naira on March 6, 2012. 3 million, N33. 1 million and N154. $ 7 million for import duties on the company’s three vessels and it was agreed that the proceeds from the Addax contract would be used to repay the loan, but customs bonds expired in December 2014. However, the company still refused to pay off the loan.
Mr Ugbede further claimed that sometimes in 2013, in accordance with the Federal Government’s decision to dissociate the Power Holding Company, he invited members of the public to bid to acquire a stake in the company. Kaztec Engineering has decided to purchase Enugu Disco shares through its sister company Interstates Electrics Limited. They were chosen as preferred bidders for 60% of the shares and part of the vesting condition was the 60% repayment of the $ 126 million shares. The company was able to stock up for $ 24. 5 millions. The company then approached the bank to help provide the remainder of the $ 101. 5 millions.
Therefore, through a separate transaction covered by a bridge loan agreement between the bank and the African Import-Export Bank (AFREXIM), a loan facility in the amount of $ 70 million was guaranteed by the AFREXIM on behalf of the company to meet its financial obligation to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) for the acquisition of the 60% stake in Enugu Disco. In addition to. A loan of $ 70 million, the two companies also requested and received $ 31.5 million from the bank.
On October 1, 2016, the bank received a mareva injunction order issued by a federal high court at the request of a Pan African Capital freezing the amount N1. 4 billion representing the proceeds of the operation of the two companies intended to be remitted to AFREXIM by Unity Bank to meet their obligation under the various loan agreements. Therefore, said order prevented the bank from fulfilling its obligations under said agreement by paying the proceeds to AFREXIM.
Of all the various facilities granted to the defendants, the following amounts remain unpaid from the defendants to the plaintiff: N5. 6 billion and 113.1 billion dollars in October 2016.
Mr. Ugbede further asserted that on or around August 16, 2016. Kaztec Engineering Limited was awarded a contract for the provision of engineering and construction services for the Trans-Niger pipeline from Oghale to TP1 in the amount of 5.3 billion naira and 50.1 million dollars by Shell. Nigeria Petroleum Development Corporation
By his letter dated 22 January 2014, addressed to Unity Bank through which the company Kaztec Engineering agreed to domiciliate the proceeds of the Shell / Kazetc contract with the bank, but he subsequently learned that the company had concluded plans to divert funds to another bank. The bank then wrote a letter to Shell Petroleum, drawing its attention to the agreement with the Kaztec company. As a result, the bank estimated that the sum of $ 8.6 million held by Shell Petroleum should now be paid to the Kaztec company. This sum will go to some extent to liquidate the defendants’ debt to Unity Bank, but is now in imminent danger of being dispelled and removed from jurisdiction by the defendants, unless the court retains the defendants and their agents. Otherwise the money will be dissipated at the expense of the bank anytime from now
Presiding Judge Hadiza Shagari, while granting the plaintiff’s claim, ordered them to file a damages pledge to compensate the defendants against any loss they might suffer if the order is found to be frivolous.
The case was adjourned until February 1, 2017 for hearing.
The author of this story, Mr. Akin Kuponyi, can be contacted at [emailÂ protected]