Otunba Mike Adenuga, one of Nigeria`s richest businessmen and Chairman of ConOil Producing Nigeria, Equitorial Trust Bank, and Glomobile Telecommunications Ltd amongst his other lucrative concerns is again in another major scandal which is currently rocking his personality. And this much Enquirer can reveal.
The man reputed to be one of the largest employers of labour in this part of the world, we gathered reliably has been dragged to court by an expatriate who has vowed to follow the case to its logical conclusion, even despite threats from Otunba Adenuga`s `people` to deal with him via the involvement of the anti graft agency, EFCC and other powerful forces in the land.
“The 3rd defendant (Equitorial Trust Bank as directed by Otunba Mike Adenuga) via a letter to the 2nd plaintiff (the expatriate`s company) dated 25th August 2009 threatened to (1) unleash the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against the 2nd Plaintiff and (2) publish the 2nd Plaintiff`s name and its directors in the Newspapers. The Plaintiff will rely on the said letter”, a threatening clause as quoted from the expatriate`s court documents.
According to informed sources, Otunba Mike Adenuga had contracted the services of an expatriate, Sheldon One and his partner, Frazimex Nigeria Limited to hire the Swamp Rig, SEAREX X11 and its associated Marine Spread (Drilling Unit) for the purpose of their drilling operation in a swampy area in Bayelsa State whilst he (Adenuga) was on exile between 2005 and 2007. The total money involved is well over $4.5m U.S Dollars (Four Million Five Hundred Thousand U.S Dollars) about N720m (Seven Hundred and Twenty Million Naira).
We gathered reliably that upon conclusion of negotiations, Otunba Mike Adenuga introduced a third party firm, Belbop Nigeria Limited and compelled Sheldon One and his Partner to sign a Technical Support Agreement instead of dealing directly with ConOil Producing Limited which he had direct contract with. Unknown to the innocent expatriates, the company, Belbop which appeared from the blues was not just owned by Otunba Adenuga but planted by the `Bull` to put spanner in the works.
The expatriates through his lawyers had since conducted private investigations into the particulars of the ghost company, Belbop Nigeria Limited which many people declared Otunba Adenuga uses to cheat innocent employees by passing entitlements and nothing had come out of it. “ The Plaintiffs, (Sheldon One and Frazimex Nigeria Limited) despite repeated searches at the Corporate Affairs Commission headquarters, Abuja couldn`t obtain certified True Copies of the company`s-Belbop corporate documents as the file could not be located”, the expatriates` lawyers had challenged.
Some of the agreed terms in the `Technical Support Agreement` papers in the contract between them, we learnt are that the expatriates shall be paid as at when due via an account domicile in Adenuga-led Equitorial Trust Bank aside the fact that, the drilling contract, inter-alia was provided for a duration of 24 months, with a 12 months automatic extension and an option to renew for another 12 months. The contract, we gathered further also provided for payments via letters of credit, (80 percent United States` Dollars and 20 percent Nigeria Naira) in exactly 45 days after receipt of relevant invoices. And again, interest rate on late payment was fixed at 0.5 percent above LIBOR Rate whilst the expatriates had another option to right of termination of the contract upon giving 10 days prior written notice should the 1st defendant, which is Adenuga`s ghost company, Belbop fail or refuse to timely make payments.
Bubble burst however when Equitorial Trust Bank refused to honour terms of contract by paying as at when due despite the fact that, the expatriates kept their own terms by performing under the drilling contract agreement from when it commenced in May 2006 till December 31st, 2007 when they served the notice of termination, the only payment they got was the letter of credit it opened for the first three months of the drilling contract and never renewed same nor issued any until the contract was terminated.
According to the expatriates, the drilling contract was terminated because Belbop incessantly failed or refused to timely meet its payments obligations contrary to clauses 701, 803 and 804 of the drilling contract and to worsen matters, Otunba Adenuga smartly lured them (Sheldone One and partner, Frazimex) through his solicitors in the UK, Jeffery Teslar during one of their meetings in London to source for a $2m loan facility to carry on with the drilling contract from Equitorial Trust Bank in Nigeria instead of settling its indebtedness.
“If my clients had been paid on time as agreed, there wouldn`t be any need for any loan and moreover why should the man offered to borrow money to somebody he`s indebted to, that`s dubious, now instead of paying my clients or even liquidating the said indebtedness from what he`s owing, he`s been threatening with EFCC and all sorts to force them into paying the sky-rocketed loan”, the lawyer argued.
The story is quite interesting and we are promising to give you details of the crude and illegal means Otunba Mike Adenuga uses to hound down his purported clients and debtors in our next edition.
Particulars of Fraud
(A) The 2nd Defendant (ConOil Producing Limited), as licensee of OML 59 deliberately used the 1st Defendant (Belbop Nigeria Limited) as a shield in its dealings with service contractors, with full knowledge that in case of any default on the 1st Defendant`s part (Belbop Nigeria Limited) recourse to the 2nd Defendant (ConOil) would be high impossible.
(B) The 1st Defendant, (Belbop) to the 2nd Defendant`s (ConOil) knowledge, had no property nor staff of its own (and used only the 2nd Defendant`s assets and staff) and was essentially AN ENGINE OF FRAUD.
(C) The 3rd Defendant, (Equitorial Trust Bank) as the financing arm of the 2nd Defendant, (ConOil) was forced on the Plaintiff (Sheldone One) to provide facilities which were unnecessary were the terms of the Drilling Contract duly honoured.
(D) The 4th Defendant, (Otunba Mike Adenuga), at all times material to this action, was the person on whose instructions and directions all the directors and staff of Belbop Nigeria Limited, ConOil Producing Limited and Equitorial Trust Bank Plc which are Defendants 1st-3rd acted.