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Two years after it was slammed with a $9m claim for breaching contract by a US Court, Greenville LNG company is on the brink of another lawsuit in its supply dealings with Nigerian-based manufacturing giant, BUA Group.

 

Owned by Eddy Van Den Broeke , a Belgian cement magnate, *Greenville* is the pioneer Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) production and distribution company in Nigeria with three liquefaction trains and a total capacity to produce 2250 MT of LNG per day.

 

The company, which was incorporated in 2013, prides itself for producing and marketing Liquefied Natural Gas to customers across Nigeria since April 2019.

 

It should be noted that the company is a Nigerian subsidiary of the International Engineering & Construction (IEC), a Luxembourg-based construction company.

 

However, in 2018, there were reports of how *Broeke* was struggling to get his LNG project off the ground in Nigeria and also facing a $9m claim from his subcontractor Baker Hughes.

 

How it started

 

In 2014, IEC through Greenville LNG entered into an agreement with Baker Hughes Energy Services LLC, formerly known as GE Oil & Gas (GEOG), for the purchase and installation of two small-scale liquified natural gas plants in Rumuji, Rivers State, Nigeria.

 

According to the documents obtained by POLITICS NIGERIA, GEOG agreed to supply IEC with two small-scale liquified natural gas production plants — the first by June 24, 2015, and the second by September 24, 2015— for use at the Rumuji Site.

 

In exchange, IEC agreed to pay GEOG $95 million. Both parties also agreed on a payment schedule, which would require IEC to pay various percentages of the $95 million at specific milestones.

 

It was stated that the agreement would be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the state of New York.

 

Unfortunately, GEOG failed to deliver the gas plants by their contractual delivery deadlines and this stalled installation, commissioning, and start-up of the Plants.

 

Arbitration

 

On July 31, 2018, IEC filed a Notice of Demand for and Commencement of Arbitration under the Contracts on behalf of itself and Greenville.

 

IEC initially sought approximately $75 million in damages but its demand increased to $700 million by the end of the arbitration.

 

The $700m claims included the liquidated damages for delayed delivery and damages associated with the delayed entry into operation of the gas plants.

 

But GEOG also filed counterclaims against IEC for breach of the contracts, asking for damages up to $40.1 million.

 

In 2020, the American Tribunal gave its verdict, ordering IEC and Greenville to pay GEOG over $9.5m for breaching contracts.

 

The Tribunal held that IEC had breached the Equipment Contract by failing to make two Milestone payments.

 

Dissatisfied with the judgement, On January 27, 2021, IEC filed a petition to vacate the Award in New York state court but the court rejected IEC’s arguments.

 

“In short, due to the strong deference owed to the decisions of arbitrators, the Court is compelled to reject IEC’s arguments and confirm the Award,” the court ruled.

 

*Poor Ethics/Underhand Business Practices*

 

It is believed that the posture of the company and record of breaching contract is owing to its owner’s secretive and shady business activities. Prior to setting up Greenville, Eddy Van Den Broeke ran ASCA bitumen from 1996 and grew the company into becoming a giant monopoly with over 90% of the Nigerian market by 2015.

 

Through this position, he was famed to hold everyone to ransom through alleged arbitrary price increases, artificial scarcity, amongst others. Eddy Broeke’s families were one of six of Belgium’s wealthiest families that featured on the Panama Papers, a cross-border investigation that revealed a list of thousands of people who channelled funds to tax havens.

 

“The family of *Eddy* *Van* *Den* *Broeke* , who turned the Eres company into an international player, is also mentioned. Eddy Van Den Broeke is identified as the sole beneficiary of at least five offshore companies in the BVI,” the ICIJ report read.

 

Eddy was named in the Panama Papers having had an extensive network of shell companies to hide his funds and avoid government oversight.

 

*Another multi-million dollar breach of contract suit looming*

 

Our investigations also revealed that recently, BUA, which is one of Greenville’s largest clients, is set to sue Greenville for 50 billion Naira for a possible breach in contract and reneging on its obligation to supply gas to its businesses in the far north.

 

According to sources, this dispute is as a result of Greenville LNG reneging on their contract with BUA to supply gas and also increasing prices arbitrarily despite the contractually agreed oil-indexed pricing for any changes in price.

 

Industry watchers1 have claimed that Greenville is trying to take advantage of its near monopoly in the domestic trucked LNG market hence their habit of entering into contracts and reneging on it after starting.

 

With Eddy and his companies’ history of reneging on contracts entered into with the Federal Government, partners, suppliers, communities and clients, it is unlikely that Greenville LNG or its billionaire owner *Eddy* and Managing Director , *Ritu* *Sahajwalla* would stop such behaviour anytime soon.

 

Experts familiar with BUA’s history of ensuring its rights are enforced, believe BUA will pursue this issue to a logical conclusion at the courts and till their rights are enforced.

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Zenith Bank Refunds N3.23m To Angry Customer Chiamaka Agim

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A leading Nigerian commercial bank, Zenith Bank has returned N3.23 million to Chiamaka Agim, a Lagos State resident whose N4.039 million was erroneously deducted on January 9.

 

According to reports, Zenith Bank had previously informed Agim that she would only receive N800,500 of the N4,039,900 that had been debited.

 

But on Monday, January 16, in the evening, the bank sent back N3,239,400.

 

Recently, the Zenith Bank client shared a post about the refund on her Twitter page.

 

 

Agim reported that on that Monday, the bank contacted her to provide an update on the refunded money.

 

“After the event, they had to put my account on pause, so I didn’t get any alerts,” the user said. I was told to visit the bank the next day,” she recalled.

 

“They had credited my account with N3,239,400 around 7.30 pm on Monday,” the customer said. “My account statement was printed when I got to the bank.”

 

She claimed to have discovered that Access, one of the two banks to which the funds were transferred, still held the remaining N800,500.

 

Zenith Bank stated that Access Bank is now withholding the funds and that it is not their fault at this time. They said Access Bank stated that the funds would not be released without a court order.

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UBA Appoints Abiola Bawuah CEO,UBA Africa

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The Board of Directors of the United Bank for Africa Plc has announced the appointment of Mrs. Abiola Bawuah, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UBA Africa.

 

According to a statement y the bank, Bawuah will also join the Group Board as an Executive Director, overseeing the Group’s operations across the African continent, outside Nigeria.

 

Bawuah, a Ghanaian national, is the first female CEO of UBA Africa.

 

Prior to her appointment, she was Regional CEO, West Africa, supervising the Group’s operations in nine subsidiaries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. She previously held the role of CEO, UBA Ghana.

 

Speaking on the new appointment, the Group Board Chairman, Mr Tony O. Elumelu, said, “Abiola has contributed significantly to the growth of UBA Africa for close to a decade. She brings a wealth of experience in commercial banking, and stakeholder engagement. It also gives me great pleasure that with her appointment, the UBA Group Board has now become a majority female board.”

 

The UBA Group also announced other appointments.

 

Chris Ofikulu was appointed the Regional CEO of UBA West Africa.

 

A statement by the bank said Ofikulu has over two decades of banking experience spanning corporate, commercial, and retail banking.

 

Similarly, Uzoechina Molokwu was appointed as Deputy Managing Director (DMD) of UBA Ghana, subject to local regulatory approvals. He was previously the Executive Director, Business Development – UBA Côte d’Ivoire and has over 23 years banking experience.

 

Ayokunle Olajubu was also announced as the Managing Director/CEO UBA Liberia, subject to local regulatory approvals. He currently drives compliance across Africa subsidiaries and comes with 30 years banking experience in Nigeria and other African countries, including Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire and the Gambia.

 

Other appointments include that of Theresa Henshaw who was appointed as CEO of UBA UK, subject to local regulatory approvals. She was previously the DMD, Business Development, UBA America and joined the Group as ED, Business Development at UBA UK.

 

Usman Isiaka, currently CEO, UBA Sierra Leone, has also been appointed the Deputy CEO in UBA America, subject to local regulatory approvals.

 

Adeyemi Adeleke, the former CEO of UBA, UK is now the Group Treasurer. Adeleke will be working to unlock the immense value in the Group’s multi-jurisdictional balance sheet, leveraging on its presence in 24 countries within and beyond Africa.

 

In addition to the executive appointments, UBA has announced the retirement of High Chief Samuel Oni, an independent non-executive Director, from the board following the expiration of his tenure. He joined the UBA Group in January 2015 and served on the Board of the Group for eight years.

 

The Group Chairman, Mr Elumelu, expressed his appreciation to High Chief Oni, for his commitment, leadership and extensive contributions to the UBA Group and on behalf of the Board, wishes him the very best in all his future endeavours.

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