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The London Court of International Arbitration has ordered two companies owned by the Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc, Wale Tinubu, and his deputy, Mofe Boyo, to pay $680 million (N244.8 billion) to Ansbury Investments, which is owned by Gabriele Volpi.

In a July 6 ruling, the LCIA held that Ocean and Oil Development Partners, British Virgin Islands, which owns 55.96 per cent of Oando Plc through a holding company, Ocean and Oil Development Partners Nigeria Limited, is owing Ansbury Investments Incorporated $600 million (N216 billion).

Ansbury Investment’s counsel, Andrea Moja, confirmed the LCIA award in a statement on Sunday.

Moja said the Arbitration Court also held that Whitmore Asset Management Limited, whose ultimate beneficial owners are Tinubu and Boyo, was also owing Ansbury Investment $80 million (N28.8 billion).

The cumulative debt owed by the Oando chiefs to Ansbury Investment totals $680 million.

Documents obtained from the LCIA, which is reputed to be one of the world’s leading international institutions for commercial dispute resolution, identified the family of Volpi, a Nigerian-Italian, as the ultimate beneficial owner of Ansbury.

The London Arbitration Court ruled that the “Third Shareholders Agreement” between the parties, is legally binding on the parties as claimed by Ansbury Investment.

The documents indicated that in a few days, the court will pronounce on accrued interests on the debts.

It was learnt that the ruling was communicated to the parties on July 9.

The statement said: “The claim of Whitmore Asset Management Limited that the parties agreed to a binding Fourth Shareholders Agreement was rejected.

“The alleged agreement by which Whitmore Asset Management Limited was to hold 60 per cent Of Ocean and Oil Development Partners (BVI) Ltd is not binding on the parties.

“Ocean and Oil Development Partners (Bvi) Ltd owes a debt to Ansbury Investments Inc for an amount of US$ 600 million.

“Whitmore Asset Management Limited owes a debt to Ansbury Investments Inc for an amount of US$ 80 million.

“This Partial Award will be followed by a Final Award in which the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) will pronounce on interests on the amounts owed and legal expenses.

“Given the above, Ansbury Investments Inc will immediately submit an application to London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) in which it will be asked to charge Whitmore Asset Management Limited for all the due interests and legal expenses as well.”

When the disagreement broke in 2017, Ansbury had also petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission in May over allegation of financial mismanagement, huge indebtedness as well as falsifying its financial statement.

In addition, Ansbury had also informed SEC that Oando’s “current liabilities as at December 31, 2016, far exceeds the current assets by N263.7 billion, confirming serious financial imbalance from the previous financial year”.

However, Lawyers representing Tinubu and Boyo the Group Chief Executive and Deputy Group Chief Executive of Oando PLC and co-owners of Whitmore Asset Management Limited, said contrary to the claim by Ansbury Investment Counsel, Mr. Andrea Moja, the amount owed to Ansbury Investments Inc, owned by Mr. Gabriele Volpi, is $80m, which is owed by Whitmore Asset Management Limited, while the balance of $600m is owed by Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) BVI.

Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) BVI Ltd is owned by all three parties: Wale Tinubu, Mofe Boyo and Gabriele Volpi, hence the judgment by the London Court of International Arbitration implies that Volpi as part owner of OODP BVI owes himself by virtue of his ownership in the company.

It was learnt that had indicated that payment terms for the personal debt were being ironed out by the parties while payment terms for the $600 million owed by OODP will be determined by the LCIA.

The dispute between Gabrielle Volpi and the principals of Oando has been ongoing for over a year.

It has caused concern for companies and individuals who look for investments to grow their business via individuals in the form of equity or debt.

Volpi, a significant shareholder in OODP invested in the company during Oando’s acquisition of ConocoPhillips Nigeria assets.

At the time, it would have seem like the investment of a lifetime, unfortunately, shortly after the price of oil crashed, many oil and gas companies folded up.

It was the resilience of its principals hat Oando is still alive today, industry sources said.

The assumption would be that against this backdrop Gabrielle Volpi would wait for OODP to start to reap the rewards of its investment however he has faced near financial ruin in his home country Italy and it seems is now by any means necessary trying to recoup his investments.

Since the upturn in commodity prices, Oando has recorded six consecutive quarters of profits.

The company kicked off 2018 on a positive note through continued restoration of value to its shareholders via profits in the first quarter of the year.

 

 

 

The Nation

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BIG STORY

I’ll Retrieve My Senate Mandate And Become Kogi Governor …Dino Melaye Reacts To Tribunal Sack Order

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The Kogi State National Assembly/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has sacked Dino Melaye as the representative of the Kogi West senatorial district in the Senate.

Melaye beat his closest challenger, Smart Adeyemi, and other candidates in the election that was conducted on February 23, 2019 for a second term in the upper legislative chamber.

However, Mr. Melaye has allayed the fears of his supporters saying, “no cause for alarm”.

In a twitter message immediately after the tribunal ruling, Melaye wrote;

“On Tribunal judgement. No cause for alarm at all. Even if it went my way they will still go to the Appeal Court. Our mandate cannot be taken. We will get judgment at the Appeal Court.

There will be a fresh election in Kogi West because I will be governor. For my senate mandate, no shaking.”

Adeyemi filed a petition before the tribunal to contest the result, alleging that the process was plagued with irregularities and disorganizations.

The tribunal agreed with him and annulled the election in a ruling delivered on Friday, August 23.

In a unanimous judgment, the three-member panel, led by Justice A. O. Chijioke, ordered for a fresh election to be conducted in the district.

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Tribunal Sacks Dino Melaye As Kogi West Senator, Orders Fresh Election

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The Kogi State National Assembly/State Assembly Election Petition Tribunal has nullified the election of Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi West senatorial district.

Recall that Dino Melaye polled a total of 85,395 votes to defeat his APC opponent who scored 66,902 votes.

But the APC candidate, Sam Adeyemi proceeded to challenge the declaration on three grounds of irregularities, overvoting and non-compliance with the Electoral Act.

According to Vanguard, the three-man panel led by Justice A. O. Chijioke, in a unanimous judgment on Friday, accepted Adeyemi’s ground and ordered for another election in the senatorial district.

Details later…

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BIG STORY

Okorocha Stole N1trillion From Imo State, He Must Account For All His Evil Deeds —– Gov Ihedioha

Peter Okunoren

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Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, has accused former Governor Rochas Okorocha, of stealing N1trillion while in power.

This was contained in a statement on Friday issued by his Special Adviser on Media, Steve Osuji.

“Available records show that in eight years, former Governor Okorocha mismanaged about One Trillion Naira belonging to Imo State”, he said.

“We are taking our time in unveiling the numerous atrocities of the last administration and certainly, he must answer for all the evil he did against the people of Imo State.

“It is very strange that a former Governor could sit and concoct lies. How could Governor Emeka Ihedioha spend N2.8b on sanitation? What was it used for? Okorocha’s problem is that he is so used to lies that he no longer knows the difference between lies and the truth.

“The state spends only about Twenty-Five Million Naira on sanitation and the bulk of the funds come from support from corporate organizations as part of their corporate social responsibility.

“Okorocha also alleged that Governor Ihedioha has, within two months in office, built a Hotel in Abuja and new houses in Owerri and his village. This further shows that the man, Okorocha is sick.

“As at today, Governor Ihedioha operates from his private residence in Owerri, following the pillage and vandalisation of Government House by former Governor Okorocha and his cronies.

“How could he say the Governor is building new houses when he owns a palatial residence in Owerri, where he operates from and mansions in his village, built many years ago? The question is – are houses built in two months?

“Only Okorocha can build a house in two months and it collapses after a short while. Imo people already know that Okorocha is a habitual liar and should not be taken seriously.

“The truth is that Okorocha wrecked Imo State. All he is doing is to attempt to divert the attention of Imo people. Unfortunately, Imo people are smarter than that.

“He also claimed that Governor Ihedioha did not win the last election. So who won? He cannot get over the fact that his puppet in-law failed; he is also in pains that he has not been able to extend his dynasty in Imo.

“But no amount of falsehood will deter the people’s governor, Ihedioha from fulfilling his electoral promise of rebuilding Imo State. The present administration shall remain on course in its efforts to recover Imo people’s funds and property looted by Rochas Okorocha and his cronies,” he said.

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