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.
Lagos To Close Marine Beach Bridge For Five Months
The Lagos State Government on Sunday announced a plan to effect partial closure of the Marine Beach Bridge, Apapa, to vehicular movement, from May 27 to Oct. 21.
The state Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, made the disclosure in a statement in Lagos.
He said that the closure would be to enable repair of the bridge which, he said, was long overdue.
“The repair by the Federal Ministry of Works is long overdue and is vital for the safety of the people of Lagos State, especially motorists that ply the bridge to access different parts of the state.
“Necessary palliative works have been carried out on all alternative routes around the construction site to make them to be in good condition to ease movement during the construction period.
“The repair work, which comprise bearing and expansion joint replacement, is planned to be executed in two phases, with each phase focusing on one lane of the bridge at a time.
” The first phase will be handling the lane inbound Apapa while the second phase will be designated to work on the lane that conveys vehicles outside the axis,” he said.
Oladeinde said that the partial closure of the bridge by Total Gas, inward Apapa, would last for five months.
The commissioner said that the repair was in line with the vision of providing a seamless transportation system in the metropolis.
According to him, motorists inward Wharf Road would be diverted to the other section of the bridge outward Apapa.
Oladeinde said that a contraflow of 200 metres had been designed for vehicles to realign with a proper direction inward Ajegunle or Wharf Road, Apapa.
He said that motorists descending to Total Gas would drive without any hindrance.
The commissioner said that operatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority would be stationed at the construction locations to ease traffic.
Oladeinde appealed to motorists and residents of the area to cooperate with traffic management agencies deployed to the areas.
“The state government expresses its commitment to providing a transportation system that will meet the needs of a larger population in an emerging smart city,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Public Affairs Unit of the State Ministry of Transportation (MOT) had on March 27 announced the closure of the Marine Bridge, partially from March 28 to Aug. 15 for repair.
However, on March 28, the ministry suspended the plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cops Chasing Suspected Kidnappers Shoot Teenager Performing Ablution
A teenager, Sadiq Abubakar-Ibrahim, has undergone surgery at the National Hospital, Abuja after he was shot by policemen attached to the Special Tactical Squad.
According to PUNCH Metro, the victim was performing ablution around 1 pm in his place of residence in the Gwarinpa area on Monday, May 18, 2020, when the policemen scaled the fence into the compound.
They were said to have opened fire on Sadiq, who took to his heel thinking that the invaders were armed robbers or kidnappers.
Our correspondent learnt that the policemen claimed that they were after a suspected kidnapper, who allegedly entered the house.
The policemen were said to have arrested all male occupants of the house, including the victim, and detained them at the Guzate Police Station.
Sadiq’s family member, Fatima Babashehu, told our correspondent that after much pleading, the policemen released the victim for medical attention.
She said the police had refused to check on the victim or pay his medical bills since he was admitted last week Monday.
Babashehu stated, “Sadiq’s mother was beside the fence of the house trying to make barbeque fire last Monday when she heard people shouting and jumping over the neighbour’s fence into their house and she ran into the kitchen and closed the door.
“The men started banging the door and asking the occupants to open the door, and when they opened the door, the men dragged everybody out and searched for other members of the household.
“While they went round, they saw Sadiq, where he was performing ablution beside the house, but on sighting them, Sadiq thought they were armed robbers, he got scared and jumped over the fence to the neighbour’s house on the right side, but the invaders shot him in his hand.
“They followed him and started shooting so the neighbours gave Sadiq up and the owner of the house and two of his sons were also arrested. They brought everybody out and gathered them at the dining area and took all the male occupants away.
“Nobody knew where they came from at first; we thought they were kidnappers or armed robbers, because of the way they scaled the fence; they were in mufti and jackets. We started making calls to find out who took our people and we were able to confirm that they were policemen.
“We made more calls and we were able to gather that they came from the Guzate Police Station. We learnt that they were tracing a kidnapper, who was demanding ransom, and his location showed our house.
“We were taken to the commander of the squad and he told us that the officers told him a different story when they got to the station. He said a kidnap took place in Lokoja but the negotiator was around our house and when they traced him, they saw the kidnapper jumping into the house. He said the officers told him that it was not a gunshot that injured Sadiq’s hand, but a barbwire on the fence, while he was scaling the fence into the neighbour’s house.
“When we got to the police station, we saw Sadiq bleeding without any medical attention and we pleaded that he should be taken to hospital, but we were chased out on the grounds that we could not teach them their job.
“We were later made to sign an undertaking that we were the ones, who requested to take him to hospital, and I told Sadiq’s dad that if we should leave him with the police, he would die; so, we decided to take him to hospital and we requested that a police officer should follow us, because it was a gunshot injury and no hospital would attend to him without a police report or officer.
“They agreed that an officer would follow us and we drove to the National Hospital, Abuja, but when we got there, the officer was asked to write a statement, but he refused and we were told that they would not admit Sadiq until the officer submitted his particulars and phone number so they could reach him.
“Sadiq’s uncle was the one, who wrote the name and phone number of the police officer and the division he is attached to before he was attended to; and the officer left immediately and we have not seen him or any other police personnel since then.
“Sadiq is billed for surgery because the bullet pierced his bone and shattered it. We have not heard anything from the police; they did not reach out to us to know about the hospital bill.”
When contacted, the FCT police spokesman, Anjuguri Manzah, referred our correspondent to the force spokesperson, Frank Mba.
When Mba was contacted, his telephone was not reachable and an SMS requesting his comment on the matter had not been replied to as of the time of filing this report.
All 215 UK Returnees Test Negative, Discharged
It was an atmosphere of celebration Saturday morning as the 215 returnees from the UK received a clearance certificate from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), at their Abuja Isolation Center.
All the returnees, according to the clearance certificate tested NEGATIVE to the Coronavirus.
They were subsequently discharged.