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EFCC shuts Obat depot over N1.2bn subsidy diversion 

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) has shut down the fuel depot of Obat Petroleum over the diversion of N1.2billion subsidy diversion which the oil firm illegally diverted into  personal account of the Chairman of Obat Oil Petroleum Limited Oba Frederick Akinrutan.
According to a story published recently by Nigerian NewsDirect, a document obtained by our correspondent, Petrocam Trading Nigeria Limited entered a joint agreement with Obat Petroleum to import 15, 000 metric tones of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol. In the agreement, Petrocam is the marketer, while Obat is the contractor. The contractor which is Obat, hereby engaged the marketer which is Petrocam to finance the business whether by its own resources or through its Bank and Obat accept such engagement on the terms and condition in the contract both companies jointly signed.
Petrocam (Marketer) approached and got advances to finance the business from Sterling Bank Plc, through which bank all known payment were made.

 A collection account no. 0020560534, Obat oil and petroleum limited with Sterling bank plc was opened to take receivables from the transaction primarily for the purpose of repaying the loans Petrocam took from Sterling bank to finance the project.
In a letter by the lawyer of Petrocam to Obat Oil & Petroleum Limited signed by the Principal Counsel Barr Chijioke Emeka of Chijioke Emeka&Colleagues. The letter states that  Petrocam complained that Obat petroleum breached the agreement by diverting the sum of N239,479,947.85 paid as accrued interest by the Federal Government from the Excess Crude Account into a different account with United Bank for Africa Plc out of Sterling Bank’s reach.
According to the letter, within five days, the sum was diverted to the Chairman’s personal account. Another sum of N2,117,803,462.13 is due for foreign exchange differential and our client I’s apprehensive that it will also be diverted.
The Principal counsel also states in the letter that Petrocam had reached out  to Obat by letter dated Nov 12,2015 for amicable resolution without success. We now have instruction to refer the matter to  court for judicial resolution.
Also attached with the letter is a ‘memorandum of claim (MOC)’ with an option for settlement out of court.,
The MOC contains a declaration that by virtue of Clauses 5 and 7 of the agreement dated Aoril 25, 2014 and clause 1 (Power of Attorney) of the Addendum dated Sep 23, 2014 between the claimants and 1st defendant. Of sums due as subsidy, accrued interests and foreign exchange differential from the Premium Moro Spirit (PMS) imports are only payable into the “ Collection Account” No 0020560534, Obat Oil and Petroleum Limited with Sterling Bank Plc for the purpose of liquidating the loans taken by the 1st Claimant from Sterling Bak plc to fund the said PMS imports.
The MOC  consists of Mandatory injunction, directing the 1st to 3rd Defendants to forthwith payback or refund the “ Collection Account” No 0020560534,Obat Oil & Petroleum Limited with Sterling Bank Plc the sum of N239,479,947,.85 paid by the 4th defendant as accrued interest, but diverted by the 1st to 3rd defendants into account Mo 108824130 Obat Oil & Petroleum Limited with UBA Plc on May 14, 2014 and further diverted int o the 2nd Defendant’s personal account on May 19,2015 contrary to the said agreements.

 The Principal partner also states in the MOC  that there is perpetual injunction retraining the 1st to 3rd defendants whether by themselves their servants, agents or privies from diverting the sum of N2,117,803,462.13 due from the 4th defendant as amount due as foreign exchange differential or any sum representing such differentials or any further payment of account interest, into any other account apart from the “Collection Account No 0020560534, Obat Oil & Petroleum Ltd with Sterling Bank Plc for the purpose of liquidating the loans taken by 1st Claimant from Sterling Bank Plc to fund the said imports.
The MOC also states an Order for Specific performance directed at the 1st to 3rd defendants to strictly carry out the terms in clauses 5 and 7 of the agreement between them and claimants dated April 25,2014 and clause 1 (Power of Attorney) in the Addendum thereto dated September 25, 2014 and route all receivables from the 4th defendant as accrued interests and foreign exchange differentials into the Collection Account no 0020560534,Obat Oil &Petroleum Ltd with Sterling bak Plc for the purpose of liquidating the loans taken by the 1st Claimant from Sterling Bank Plc to fund the said imports as agreed by the claimants and the 1st to 3rd defendants.
The legal practitioner is also demanding for the payment of five million Naira by the 1st to 3rd defendants only as the costs of the suit among others.

 An official of Obat Petroleum who spoke to our correspondent  disclosed that the allegation of Petrocam is in violation of the court process since the case is already in court. He added that the legal counsel of counsel of Petrocam had advised the company to have account reconciliation meeting on Januaru 9, 2016.  However, he could not provide the letter. “ We are shocked to hear that the story has been reported to the press since there is opportunity for both parties to iron out area of concern,” he lamented.

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