1 December 2012

Nigeria: Court to Rule On Capital Oil Forfeiture Order

An Abuja Federal High Court yesterday adjourned till December 11 to rule on whether or not it will set aside an order it made on November 13 granting the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) immediate possession of property belonging to the Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited and its Managing Director, Ifeanyi Ubah.

Justice Abdul Kafarati adjourned after counsel adopted their addresses.

Defense Counsel, Wole Olanikpekun (SAN), prayed to the court to set aside the order earlier made, saying it will be in the interest of general public.

He said Capital Oil is the second largest supplier of fuel across the country, as such the forfeiture will have a negative impact on a large segment of the society.

Moreover, he argued that AMCON is yet to commence the debt recovery which is meant to be within 14 days from the date of the order.

Urging the court to strike out the application, plaintiff counsel, Kemi Balogun, informed the court a report of an inspection agency jointly set up by parties in the suit showed that the defendant has only 21 million litres of fuel in its tank, which is just enough to last Lagos State only one day.

Last week, the court varied the forfeiture order after the defense counsel asked that his client be given access to 50 per cent of the credit balance in some of his accounts with the United Bank of Africa (UBA) so he can pay salaries and attend to personal needs.

The court said the defendants can withdraw 25 per cent of the amount disclosed by the UBA in its affidavit.

Apart from the defendants, AMCON listed 21 banks with which the defendants operate different accounts.

Ubah and Capital Oil are indebted to AMCON to the tune of N48.014 billion. They were among the 113 companies and 419 directors/shareholders that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) listed as AMCON debtors.

The banks have been barred from extending further credit to the debtor companies and their directors until they repay their loans.

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