A firm, AOS Orwell Ltd, has initiated contempt proceedings against the Chairman of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, Dr Ambrose Orjiako, for allegedly violating court orders.
It is praying the Federal High Court in Lagos for an order committing Orjiako to prison for his “wilful, deliberate and orchestrated disobedience to the interim orders which metamorphosed into interlocutory orders of this honourable court”.
AOS Orwell, through its lawyer, Mr Kunle Ogunba (SAN), sought an order that Orjiako “as lawfully and legitimately” cited for contempt, when committed, remain in prison or protective custody of any of the detaining security agencies or at a reformatory centre “until he purges himself of the contempt and majesty of this Honourable Court.”
According to the petitioner/applicant, the court made orders restraining the respondent (Shebah Exploration and Production Company Ltd) or its agents from dealing with or tampering with the company’s assets, funds, shares and equipment within and outside Nigeria.
It said despite the service of the court orders on the company, Orjiako “proceeded to deal with, dissipate and/or alienate the shares/assets of the respondent contrary to the orders.”
AOS Orwell said Orjiako “is the Managing Director, Chairman/alter ego and the Chief Executive Officer of Shebah Exploration and Production.”
The petitioner, in a supporting affidavit deposed to by Hellen Atulukwu, a lawyer in Ogunba’s firm, Insolvency Forte, said Orjiako and the respondent “wilfully disobeyed the extant orders of the Federal High Court made in this suit despite being fully aware” of them.
The firm said there was urgent need to lift the veil of the respondent’s incorporation to enable the court punish the cited human who has “seriously flouted the extant orders of this honourable court.”
AOS Orwell had obtained the interlocutory orders seeking to stop the respondent’s directors from dissipating its assets pending the hearing and determination of the application for the appointment of a provisional liquidator for Shebah Exploration and Production over an alleged multi-million naira debt.
Justice Rabiu Shagari adjourned the case until May 4 for hearing.