Nadabo Energy vs Trafigura: Court orders status quo over N24bn fraud

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Jeremy Weir is CEO Trafigura Beheer BV worldwide
Jeremy Weir is CEO Trafigura Beheer BV worldwide

A Federal high court sitting in Lagos has ordered that Nadabo Energy Limited and Trafigura Beheer BV engaged in legal battle over a cargo of 950,000 crude oil to maintain status quo.

The court also warned the two parties not to do anything that will overreach the court.

The presiding judge, Justice Rilwan Aikawa had earlier ordered the Nigerian company Nadabo to serve the court process on the British company Trafigura Beheer BV out of jurisdiction along with five Nigerian companies dragged before the court alleged to have laundered N24 billion.

Deal of the day

In a bid to recover N24 billion alleged to have been laundered by Trafigura Beeher BV, a limited liability company in Nigeria, Nadabo Energy Limited dragged the company before a Federal High Court in Lagos.

Joined as co-defendants in the ensuing legal battle to secure court order to detain about 950,000 barrels of oil belonging to the company are five Nigerian companies Mettle Energy & Gas Limited, Renbrant Limited, Jill Engineering and oil Services Limited, Q&Q Control Services Nigeria limited, General Marine & Oil Services Limited.

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In his argument before the court, the plaintiff’s lawyer Chief Emefo Etudo leading two other senior counsels Mrs Charity Etudo and Adeola Ojo, told the court that all the parties have been served, therefore there is the need for court to order all the parties to maintain status quo and an order of the court ordering the foreign party to be served.

In an affidavit sworn to by the Executive Director of Nadabo Energy company, Mr Reuben Etila, and filed before the court by Barrister Adeola Ojo, the deponent averred that, Nadabo Energy Company obtained $16 million loan from Spring bank Plc to import petroleum products for onward supply to Mobil Nigeria.

However Trafigura Beheer BV colluded with some officials of the Spring Bank Plc to steal substantial part of the money and supply the cargo now valued at N24 billion from the Nadabo Energy Company, the money was received by letters of credit and converted same to multiple businesses, shipping and crude oil lifting and 950,000 barrels of crude oil it is attempting to load this month at Exxonmobil /Esso Terminal ERHA.

The crude oil belongs to the plaintiff.

Mr Etila also averred that this fraud which killed Spring Bank Plc was just discovered this year and the President and commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has just been petitioned for swift action.

Therefore it is necessary not to allow Trafigura Beheer BV to take all her properties (crude oil) out of the jurisdiction of the court so that any judgement given by the court will not been in vain.

Spring bank Plc was alleged to have died as a result of the alleged fraud

As a result of this fraud, Nadabo Energy Limited was blacklisted from securing further loan from any Nigerian bank until it pays the money owed the bank.

Heritage Bank has since acquired Enterprise Bank Limited that acquired Spring bank Plc.

Heritage bank Plc has dragged Nadabo to court over this issue.

Mr Etila alleged further that the stolen assets of the company had been converted into ships and crude oil by Trafigura Beheer BV and other colluding parties and the plaintiff in this legal action is claiming title to the said laundered assets as notice of discovery was also given to the respondents this year.

The company which is a foreign company upon receipt of the said notice decided to quickly move her known assets the 950,000 barrels of crude oil that is within the jurisdiction of this court out of the jurisdiction and vanish to Europe.

The Nadabo company filed undertaking as to damages with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court and therein depose that it will indemnify the defendants or whosoever of any damage that may be caused by making of order of injunction if it turned out that the order ought not to have been made.

Justice Aikawa has adjourned the case till 24 January 2018 for further hearing.