From Godwin Tsa Abuja
An Oil and Gas Company has dragged the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Access Bank Plc before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja over alleged acts of negligence resulting to the lost of $264.6 million.
In the suit marked HC/CV/3145/2020 the claimant, Zhejiang Pufa Group Building Materials Ltd is further claiming from the defendants, the sum of N6, 450, 000 being the amount of naira it lost as a result of the negligence and activities of the defendants.
Also listed as defendants in the suit filed by Oba Maduabuchi (SAN) for the claimant are Perrahums Ltd and it’s Managing Director, Dr. A. D. Ahumara Eze.
It claimed by agreement entered into by it’s president Lin Kuo Tsai and the NNPC represented by Perrahums Ltd, on December 13, 2017, the defendants agreed to sell 2, 000, 000 barrels of Nigerian Light Crude Oil popularly called Bonny Light to be delivered by the ship or Vessel known as MT Ugo Ocha Imo: 9172856.
That by terms of the said agreement, a discount and Commission of $10 USD was to be paid on each barrel of crude oil and was to be paid as follows, US$6.00 per Bbl to the buyer, USD2 to the seller’s side and US $ 2.0 to be paid to the buyer’s side.
It was also agreed by the parties that the claimant was to issue a once transferable MT99 block fund of $100m USD to the seller’s bank and it shall remain so blocked fund because once it is transferred, it is near impossible to reverse it or have access to it.
The claimant informed the court that by a letter of February 15, 2018, the NNPC (2nd defendant) confirmed that the 1st defendant (Perrahums Ltd) had it’s mandate and authority to represent it in all transaction involving and including the sale and marketing of Bonny Light Crude Oil and is also mandated to deliver cargo to any part in the world.
Before then, the claimant said it paid the sum of $498, 240. 000 USD to the defendants through the company they had introduced as the owners of the Vessel MT Ugo Ocha Ritz Consult Ltd as freight charges.
That it has paid various sums to the defendants in rest of the contract agreement after Perrahums Ltd and it’s Managing Director, Dr A. D. Ahumara Eze, took the claimant to the NNPC terminal called Bonny terminal, and introduced them to the officials running the installation who verbally as at then, confirmed it was safe to deal with the 1st and 3rd defendants as their accredited Representatives.
That part of the money were paid to the defendants through their Nigerian banks Access Bank), which have the obligations to report to the appropriate authority any transfer of money from foreign country funds above N5m or it’s dollar equivalent in case of an individual and in case of a body corporate N10m or it’s dollar equivalent.
This is pursuant to section 10(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011. By section 3 of the same Act, failure to so report shall be visited with punishment in the nature of a fine in a sum not less than N250 and not more than N1m per day that the contravention continues.
That the essence of this provision was to alert the appropriate anti financial offences security agencies for them to investigate the source and purpose of the funds to prevent scammers from fleecing innocent people who seek to do legitimate business in the country.
That upon the claimant paying the sum of N11, 625, 000 to the First Bank of Nigeria Plc, and N11, 600,000 to Diamond Bank Plc, the two banks were supposed to report these lodgments to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission within seven days of such lodgment.
But the banks failed to make such a report and thus enabled the defendants to successfully carry out their nefarious schemes.
“If the security agencies were alerted, they would have swung into action and investigated why such humongous amount was being paid to the 1st and 3rd defendants. They would have found that this was just a perfect fraud designed by the 3rd defebdant using the name of the 1st defendant (NNPC) and in collaboration with the 2nd defendant and aided and abetted by the 4th defendant.