The Federal high court sitting in Lagos, south west Nigeria has adjourned till 28 of September,2022, when hearing will commence in a case of debt recovery of USD4,143,856.70 filed against Oriental Energy Resources Company by Borr International Operation drilling company,being an alleged outstanding approved and unpaid invoices for the drilling services rendered in accordance with Contract for the provision of Jack-Up Drilling Unit and Drilling Rig Services rendered in the Defendant’s Ebok Field in OML 67.
The drilling company in a suit filed by its lawyer, Barrister,Gabriel Uduafi is also praying the court for interest on US$ 4,143,856.70 million based on the current London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), one month interest rate increased by 5 percent and calculated pro data on a daily basis from 6th October, 2021, till the date of liquidation of the judgement debt.
In its statement of claim, the Plaintiff stated that by the relevant provisions of the contract, the Drilling Operations, which the Plaintiff was engaged to carry out was required to be done within the Firm Term of 120 days.
It stated that going by the relevant provisions of the Contract, there was no fixed-or set target that the Plaintiff was obligated to achieve, as the Contract was not a turnkey but a day rate’ contract; and to this effect, Clauses and Schedule of the Contract explicitly set out the various rates to include Operating Rate, Standby Rate, Repair Rate, . Force Majeure Rate, Redrill Rate, Moving Rate and Zero Kate.
The plaintiff stated that the Lump Sum payments under the contract are the Mobilization cost of $450,000 and the
Demobilization cost of $250,000, a sum Which become due and payable upon the completion of the contract.
However,following the default in making payment as stipulated under the Contract, the plaintiff wrote to the Defendant both by mail and letters, demanding for the payment of the outstanding and approved invoices and that the Defendant wrote replies raising issues and points that are completely alien to the Contract as its reason for not making the payment.
The Plaintiff contended that in setting up a completely ridiculous claim, the Defendant claimed spread cost for nonproductive time (NPT) in the total sum of US$3,437,500.00 where there is no provision in the Contract to support such claim.
The Plaintiff added that following series of engagement , it was compelled to instruct its lawyers to issue a demand for the payment of the invoices, and by a letter dated 19th January, 2022 the Plaintiffs Solicitors delivered a formal demand for the payment of some of the outstanding invoices in the sum of US$2,533,749.12 net of taxes.
Rather than simply honour its payment obligation under the Contract and credit the Plaintiff with the value of the invoices, the Defendant caused its Solicitors to reply the Plaintiff’s formal demand by the letter dated 26th January, 2022 by which the Defendant now seeks to claim the sum of $10,511,754.00 as spread cost for non-productive time (NPT) and consequential loss, as against the sum of US$3,437,500.00 initially set up by the Defendant in its earlier engagement with the Plaintiff.
The plaintiff added that in accordance with the provisions of the Contract, the same came to completion on 10th October, 2021 when the Plaintiff’s Drilling Unit left the Defendant’s Ebok Field OML 67.
Plaintiff avers that by the Completion Date, the lump sum Demobilization Rate of US$250,000 became due and payable.
The reasons given by the Defendant in refusing to honour its payment obligation under the Contract are flimsy, frivolous, vexatious and ultra vires, the provisions of the Contract between the Parties, and having approved the invoices, the defendant is obligated to make the payment within the stipulated 30 days under the Contract.
Consequently,excuses given by the Defendant in failing to honour its contractual obligations to the Plaintiff are simply provocative, as same are not supported or derived from the Contract.
The Plaintiff is being denied of the payment due to it in respect of the services rendered to the Defendant
as a result of which the Defendant is indebted to the Plaintiff to the tune of US$4,143,856.70 as stipulated under Clause 11.2 of the Contract.
It will be in the interest of justice to grant all the reliefs claimed in this suit adding that except the Court intervenes and grant the reliefs sought, the Defendant will continue to default in the payment of the invoices which have been duly approved for payment by the Plaintiff.
In its defence, Oriental Energy Resources Limited stated that the company is not indebted to the Plaintiff in the manner alleged in it’s claim or in any manner whatsoever as the invoices upon which the alleged debt purportedly arose are disputed by the defendant.
The Defendant stated that the Plaintiff misled it into agreeing to the mobilisation of the drilling rig to commence the contract, by fraudulently misrepresenting to the Defendant that its drilling rig, Borr Natt, was suitable for the Defendant’s Drilling Programme.
In an affidavit deposed to by Abraham Faga, a Well Engineering Manager in the Defendant company, he stated that the Defendant is not indebted to the Plaintiff in the way and manner alleged in its claim or in any way and manner whatsoever as the Defendant is disputing the invoices upon which the purported debt arose.
He averred that without the Plaintiff’s fraudulent misrepresentations, the Defendant would never have commenced the contract and approved mobilisation of the drilling unit, hence the issue of Plaintiff’s invoices which were issued within the contract would never have arisen.
He added that the Defendant would, be claiming for a refund of all payments it has so far made to the Plaintiff as the payments were fraudulently obtained.
He claimed that due to the Plaintiff’s fraudulent misrepresentation, the purported execution of the contract was completely appalling with non-productive time of over 25 days attributed to rig related repairs which is unprecedented in the industry for drilling operations.
He stated that the Plaintiff hastily commenced this suit under undefended list to mislead the court into believing that the Defendant has no defence to its claims.
The deponent further stated that Justice will be better served if the Defendant is allowed to defend the suit.
He urged the court to transfer the suit to Ordinary Cause List for a complete and holistic determination of all issues in controversy.
BUA Chairman, Abdul Samad Rabiu Donates 10bn Naira Security Support Fund For Various Interventions Through ASR Africa
Leading Nigerian Businessman, Industrialist and Philanthropist, Abdul Samad Rabiu, paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari today in Abuja, to update him and to thank him for creating an enabling environment for business to thrive, and also brief him on the strides BUA Group has made in the past few years.
Thereafter, Rabiu briefed the President on the activities of his foundation, The Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative (ASR Africa) during which he also announced the donation of a N10billion Nigeria Security Support Fund from ASR Africa towards the provision of some security equipment, medical and other supplies, upgrade of health facilities and other infrastructure for families of those on the frontlines.
According to Rabiu, the visit was in order to identify with President Muhammadu Buhari, during whose tenure BUA has built over 10 factories with two of the Group’s subsidiaries now amongst the top 10 largest publicly listed companies in Africa, and to further support the efforts of his administration in business as well as in the security space.
In his response, President Buhari said it was heartwarming to see and hear of Nigerian companies doing so much within Nigeria, and Africa especially in the area of production using locally available raw materials. He also expressed his elation at the achievements of BUA which had led to phenomenal growth within such a short time. “As a Government, we know we have done a lot in this regard, and we will continue to do more to support the aspirations of serious businesses, big and small, by providing an enabling environment as well as supporting value creation within Nigeria.
ECOBANK Staff Connives With Fraudsters To Steal Customer”s N3.2m
A staff of Ecobank PLC, by name Joshua has been reminded in prison custody following the alleged fraudulent role he played in withdrawing a customer’s N3.2million from the vaults of the bank in connivance with some persons now at large.
The arrest of Joshua followed the eagle eye of the Bank’s management that discovered that the customer’s money was missing from the account and when Joshua, who had direct access to the account was asked to explain the circumstances that led to the missing money, he feigned ignorance and denied knowledge of it.
Not satisfied with his explanation, the bank situated at the Ile-ewe, Ejigbo branch quickly moved and reported the matter to the Ejigbo Division of the Nigeria Police which immediately dispatched its detectives from the Division of the Command in Lagos State to the bank.
The police after carrying out preliminary investigation into the case, arrested 28years old Joshua, a staff of the bank alleged to have connived with criminals and withdrew the customer’s N3.2m lodged with the bank.
It was gathered that the alleged fraud took place in May this year at Ejigbo branch of the bank where the suspect, Joshua, was employed and served as a staff.
The police after its investigation, alleged that sometime in May 2022, the suspect, Joshua, conspired with others now at large to steal by fraudulently diverting the customer’s money kept in the bank with the intention that it will not be discovered by the bank management.
Joshua was accordingly charged before the Ejigbo Magistrate Court for the alleged conspiracy and theft.
Joshua however pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him by the police when he appeared before the Chief Magistrate O.A. Dosumu.
Following his not guilty submission, the police prosecutor, Inspector Simeon Njue, asked the Court to give a date for hearing to enable the prosecution to prove that he actually committed the alleged offence.
Magistrate Dosumu however, granted Joshua bail in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties in like sum, who the court ruled must show evidence of means of livelihood.
Joshua was however remanded at the Kirikiri Correctional Centre, Lagos, pending when he will be able to perfect his bail conditions.
The matter was adjourned till October 6, 2022, for mention.
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