7 December 2012

Nigeria: House Mediation in Capital Oil, Coscharis Feud Deadlocked

An attempt by the House of Representatives to intervene in the lingering dispute between Capital Oil and Gas Limited and Coscharis Motors over a failed oil import deal ended in a deadlock Thursday as some key stakeholders were absent and others rejected the mediation on the grounds that it was subjudice.

The absence of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at the public hearing on the matter did not help matters but the refusal of the Coscharis delegation to testify as it was already a court case finally stalled the meeting.

The House Committee on Public Petition which initiated the intervention, said it could not hear the petition in the absence of the other parties in the dispute.

The drama began shortly after the committee commenced deliberations on the matter.

Counsel to Coscharis Motors, Mr Osita Mbamalu, raised an objection that it was improper to hear the petition brought by Chairman of Capital Oil, Mr Ifeanyi Uba, as the matter was already before a court of law.

Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, Hon Uzo Azubuike, quickly asked for a few minutes to consult with his colleagues on the objection.

About 10 minutes later, Azubuike ruled that the hearing be adjourned to Thursday next week.

He directed that Access Bank and Coscharis Motors should furnish the committee with the documents relating to the court process on or before next Tuesday.

"We are standing down the hearing for today. We are adjourning the hearing to Thursday next week. We want Coscharis and Access Bank to furnish us with the court processes on the matter on or before Tuesday next week," Azubuike said.

In an interview with newsmen shortly after the session, Uba, said he was prepared to fight the injustice done to him to a logical conclusion.

Uba however ruled out insinuations that he was going to seek the intervention of President Goodluck Jonathan on the matter.

"I have not sought the intervention of Mr. President on this and I don't intend to do so because there is no need for that. I will not also contest the resolution of the House that we should come back next week Thursday, I have to comply with that but it is important to let Nigerians know that at this moment our workforce are outside.

"We believe there is a grand conspiracy to strangulate us which started since December last year, our payments have been stalled.

"Our demand is that the Ministry of Finance should pay us our claims so that we can settle our obligations. You cannot hold our payment and tell us to wait until the subsidy investigation is completed, he said."

Uba alleged that the claim by Coscharis that the matter was in court was merely a ploy to frustrate the intervention of the parliament on the matter.

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