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Oando Plc has described as false, the report that it had been ordered by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) to pay Ansbury Investment Inc. $680 million, saying the calculated misinformation arose from a statement issued by the lawyer and legal counsel of Ansbury Investment Inc., Mr. Adrea Moja, following the LCIA’s ruling in London.

According to a statement by Oando, the LCIA ruling follows months of arbitration on a loan repayment dispute between Oando PLC’s Group Chief Executive, Adewale Tinubu; the Deputy Group Chief Executive Omamofe Boyo, beneficial owners of Whitmore Asset Management Limited and Gabriel Volpi the beneficial owner of Ansbury Inc.

The statement added that the dispute dates back to 2017 when Gabriel Volpi allegedly attempted to breach a loan repayment agreement between him and Whitmore Limited in the British Virgin Island.

Ansbury and Whitmore Limited incorporated a joint venture investment vehicle in the British Virgin Islands called Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP BVI). OODP BVI owns a 99.99 per cent stake in Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP Nigeria) who in turn owns 57.37 per cent stake in Oando PLC.

Contrary to media speculations, the LCIA had infact ruled that OODP BVI which Gabriel Volpi owns a 60 per cent stake in should pay Ansbury (his own company) a total sum of $600 million while Whitmore pay Ansbury $80million. Going by the ownership structure this implies that Gabriel Volpi would infact be paying himself $360 million.

The payment terms is yet to be released by the LCIA and is expected to be made known to the parities in the due course.

The dispute between Ansbury and the Whitmore principals arose when Gabriel Volpi called in his loan repayment before its due date, January 1, 2018. Volpi had allegedly invested $750 million used for Oando’s purchase of ConocoPhillips Nigeria assets.

He further breached the jurisdiction of the law governing OODP BVI by petitioning the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission accusing Oando PLC of ‘financial mismanagement and cooked books, a company his counsel claims he has a majority shareholding in, all a bid to recoup his loan from the principals.

Oando’s public documents has proven that the claim of Volpi’s shareholding is false. OODP Nigeria, as at the time of this report, remains the majority shareholder in Oando with a 57.37% stake in the company.

Gabriel Volpi has in the past few years been linked to several scandals in the country including the disagreement between his maritime company, Integrated Logistics Services Limited (INTELS) and the Nigerian Ports authority (NPA).

The NPA had instructed INTELS to comply with the Treasury Savings Account (TSA) in a project, which the logistics firm was handling for the agency. This instruction did not go down well with the INTELS as it argued that the TSA would affect the payment of its loan to the banks.

In a letter to the Managing Director of NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, the Chief Executive Officer of INTELS, Andrews Dawes, at the time, made it clear that the TSA would cause a run on the finances of the company.

The altercation between the two heavyweights led to the cancellation of the project by NPA and brought to the forefront other underlying issues leading to the Federal Government’s (through NPA) decision to break INTELS’ monopoly, which was detrimental to indigenous companies in the oil and gas logistics sector.

Despite attempts to bring Oando and its principals to its knees, the company has successfully navigated through this difficult time and the reputational damage caused by the SEC saga. In 2017, the company recorded profits in all four quarters and more recently Oando recorded a N4.2 billion PAT in Q1 2018 and 19.8 billion PAT in its FYE 2017 financial results. Oando has recorded six consecutive profits since posting its FYE 2016 results.

Following the reputational and financial losses suffered by the company as a result of Volpi’s petition to the SEC, Oando kicked off 2018 by reaching a peace accord with one of its petitioners, Alhaji Dahiru Mangal in the bid to restore shareholder confidence in the brand.

In April, a two party consortium consisting of Oando PLC (“Oando”), in conjunction with its midstream affiliate, Axxela Limited (formerly known as Oando Gas & Power) and Oilserv Limited, were awarded the Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) mandate for the Ajaokuta – Abuja portion (Lot 1) of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Pipeline system by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (“NNPC”).

The contract award follows an extensive due diligence process conducted by the NNPC following a submission by Oando and Oilserv in 2013 in response to an Expression of Interest for a contractor-financed EPC development of the AKK Pipeline Project. The US$727million Ajaokuta-Abuja Pipeline development is a 215km gas infrastructure with associated facilities such as Metering/Terminal Gas Station, Pigging Station, Block Valve Stations etc.

Much to the relief of its over 270,000 shareholders who suffered untold hardship as a result of the SEC crisis, the Commission gave the directive to lift the technical suspension on the shares of Oando. On its first full day of trading, Oando’s shares were already highly sought after. According to the Chief Compliance Officer and Company Secretary, Ms. Ayotola Jagun; “On day one, 178 million Oando shares were on bid with only 5.5 million available for sale. The Company’s share price hit the NSE daily price ceiling of 10% by 10.45am; further evidence that there is a lot of interest in Oando shares and that the general mood around the market and our shares is positive.”

Most recently, Oando Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), other indigenous and international oil companies in partnership with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) achieved a commendable feat with the signing of an agreement to implement Gas Projects worth $3.7 billion. The gas projects tagged ‘Seven Critical Gas Development Projects (7CGDP)’ is set to bridge the gas supply shortfall in the country. The 7CGDP is an integral part of the gas development strategy designed by the NNPC to leverage the full potential of gas to meet the target of generating at least 15 gigawatts (GW) of electricity by 2020. The agreement includes the development of the 4.3 trillion cubic feet (TCF) Assa North/Ohaji South field, the development of the 6.4 TCF Unitized Gas fields (Samabri-Biseni, Akri-Oguta, Ubie-Oshi and Afuo-Ogbainbri) and the development of 7 TCF Nigerian Petroleum Development Corporation’s (NPDC) OMLs 26, 30 and 42.

Like many other global brands, Oando took the risk of seeking an equity investment from Gabriel Volpi, one which hasn’t turned out in its favour. The company has been questioned for getting into bed with the devil. The answer to this question could lie in a desperate bid of two young Nigerian entrepreneurs striving to add value to the country by providing gainful employment both directly and indirectly to Nigerians as well as add its quota to the country’s GDP. A company that has successfully evolved from a downstream company to an active player in the full oil and gas value chain.

Volpi is presumed a cowboy investor and one who is not particularly interested in adding value to the Nigerian economy, community or impacting lives. Rather than creating a lasting positive impact, his actions have proven he is hell-bent on destroying value at all cost, even if it’s to the detriment of over 270,000 shareholders and over 25,000 lives impacted as a result of direct and indirect employment by Oando. In this instance, we must ask ourselves the following question, do we want one of Nigeria’s most prestigious oil and gas companies who has positively impacted the nation since inception to be destroyed?

BIG STORY

Only God Can Give Victory Over Insecurity —– Femi Adesina

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The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says Nigerians who fail to commit the security situation into the hands of God could be guilty of indirectly prolonging the war against insurgency.

Adesina said this in an article on Thursday titled, ‘The Decent for the Indecent, the Just for the Unjust’.

The President’s aide noted that a short viral video showed a soldier and four others singing that victory is from God alone.

Adesina, however, said many Nigerians had failed to understand that only God gives victory.

He wrote, “But victory is from God alone. That is what we must realize as Nigerians. Do we ever pray for our troops in the frontlines? Do we remember those youths, our pride, and strength, faced by death daily, as we sleep in the comfort of our homes, ensconced in the tender bosom of our wives?

“As we pray; God give me money. Give me a car. Give me a promotion. Kill my enemies. Do it now. Do we ever remember our soldiers? Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray…did you pray for our soldiers? Victory comes from God alone. If you don’t pray, you may be guilty of prolonging the war in North-East, North-west, North-central, and all over Nigeria.”

The President’s spokesman said rather than understand the fact that only God can give victory, some Nigerians had become wailers.

“Yes, victory is from God alone. But do some people know? Does it ever enter into their consciousness? They only wail: ‘this insurgency war has lasted too long. The banditry has demystified our military. They are cowards. The top guns don’t even want the battle to end.

“They are making money in billions.’ Okay. Making money in billions and wasting our soldiers, our youths, our future, and hope, in their hundreds and thousands because of blood money. That is all some people see; permanent cynics and sceptics, who know nothing of altruism, and whose God is their belly. They think only of pecuniary gain, nothing else,” Adesina said.

He said as the nation marks this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, Nigerians should seize the opportunity to pray for the military and encourage them and not run them down.

 

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BIG STORY

JUST IN: Lagos Okays School Reopening January 18

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The Lagos State Government has affirmed its earlier pronouncement that all public and private schools in Lagos State below tertiary level should resume on Monday, January 18, 2021, for the second term 2020/2021 academic session.

This affirmation was made today by the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo while noting that this is in line with the Federal Government’s resolution after reaching a consensus with relevant stakeholders.

Details later…

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BIG STORY

Drama As Pigeons Released By Buhari Refuse To Fly At Armed Forces Remembrance [VIDEO]

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The doves, otherwise known as white pigeons, released by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day ceremony, refused to fly despite multiple attempts by the President thereby sparking a debate on social media on Friday.

The President had opened the birdcage at the National Arcade, picked up one of the doves, and thrown it into the air but the bird landed atop the cage and refused to fly.

Buhari, who was eager to let the white pigeons fly, opened the roof of the cage in a bid to send them all out but the birds remained adamant and decided to sit on top of the cage’s roof.

The President, who appeared tired of trying, soon left the birds and returned to his seat. Moments after the President had left, however, some of the birds flew.

The ritual of releasing doves is to commemorate the life of a departed loved one and is common at significant events like funerals or memorials. It also signifies peace.

Studies show that domesticated doves that are used to living in cages are not always keen on flying.

The Vatican stopped the ritual in 2014 when Pope Francis released two birds that would not fly out of the window of the papal apartment and required several attempts to get the birds to fly out over a crowd of spectators.

A similar incident occurred just the year prior at an event where Pope Benedict XVI released doves during a Holocaust remembrance event. The doves were attacked by a gull, with one dove being singled out and injured, according to Wikipedia.

In 2014, the doves refused to fly when former President Goodluck Jonathan freed them. The Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry Enugu, Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka, described the incident at the time as a sign that God had abandoned Jonathan.

The refusal of the birds to fly on Friday, however, sparked thousands of comments on social media.

A former presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Adamu Garba, said the birds should be eaten if they cannot do what they were trained to do.

“The pigeons are tired and overtime became lazy, they don’t want to fly the spirit of The Nigerian Flag. We should roast them at Suya joint and deploy Crowwe for action,” he said.

Social media personality, Morris Monye, said the Department of State Services would have arrested the pigeons for embarrassing the President if they could.

“I guarantee you… If it was possible, the DSS would arrest the pigeons for such an affront on the President. But really, is there peace, harmony, and security in the land?” he asked.

A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, who is a known critique of the President, also tweeted, “Hmmm. Even the pigeons in Nigeria.”

 

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