8th July, 2010
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, South West Nigeria, has restrained a petroleum company, Addax Petroleum Development Nigeria Limited, its directors and managers, from withdrawing from the accounts it maintains in five different banks to the limit of $15,840,000, being the amount the company is alleged to owe another company.
The order is to be in force pending the final determination of the suit filed before the court by Peacegate Oil and Gas Company Limited.
The presiding judge, Justice Okon Abang, made the order sequel to an application filed and argued by a Lagos lawyer, Ade Oyebanji, on behalf ofÂ Peacegate Oil and Gas Company.
In an affidavit sworn to by the manager of the applicant, Aletor Uhomoabhi, the deponent averred that what led to the current legal hostility started on 28 October, 2008, when Addax Petroleum offered it a contract for hire of Security Vessel -SES 1 which it accepted.
The effective date of the offer was from 29 October, 2008 and valid for a period of 90 days. The respondent agreed to reimburse the applicant for work performed during the validity days as stated in the letter of offer and pursuant to the agreement between the two parties, Peacegate delivered to the respondent at its site in Calabar, three vessels.
The applicant then obtained permit and approval at its own cost and expense from the Nigerian Navy and other relevant authorities.
However, the respondent merely paid the cost of mobilisation of two out of the three vessels and refused to pay the agreed contract sum till date. In addition, the three vessels are still in the custody of the respondent as it has not demobilised them till date.
The matter was taken to an arbitration panel, but the respondent did not file any defence or pay the arbitratorsâ€™ fee since the applicantâ€™s claim was filed a year ago.
Mr. Aletor further averred that Addax Petroleum has been acquired by a foreign company, Sinopec, which is currently making effort to wind up its operations in Nigeria and transfer its funds from the country, thereby making it difficult for the applicant to recover its money.
Consequently, the applicant urgently urged the court to grant its application by restraining the respondents from depleting or withdrawing from its accounts in about four banks and transfer such money abroad without any hope or remedy to the applicant.
Justice Abang, after listening to the argument of Barrister Oyebanji, granted the application, while the case was adjourned for further hearing.