The loveless triangle between Union Bank of Nigeria, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Ontario Oil and Gas Limited is getting ever more twisted in the N1.96 billion legal dispute with the claim by the oil company that it does not owe Union Bank of Nigeria any single kobo.
According to Ontario, who through its lawyer, Ben Udoh, released a statement yesterday, it approached the bank for a loan facility in 2014, but it has fully repaid the debt owed the bank and is innocent of the accusations in the N1.96 billion legal dispute.
“Indeed, we approached Union Bank in 2014 for an $11 million facility. A letter of Credit (LC ) was issued same year but was amended to $9.9 million in May 2015. The said sum ($9.9 billion) was paid to the supplier, Petrocam Trading Limited. Contrary to impressions created by Union Bank, there was no case of fraudulent diversion and conversion of proceeds as alleged. We would like to confirm on good authority that the products were duly imported and sold in the open market” the statement read.
Earlier, the EFCC had accused Ontario of obtaining but refusing to pay back a $70 million loan from Union Bank to import and/or purchase locally refined petroleum products PMS, DPK and AGO, which sum would be repaid from the sale of the products within a 60-day period. According to The EFCC, a Ms Joan Ganadanu, a legal practitioner, filed the complaint against Ontario Oil and Gas complaining of diversion and conversion of proceeds of sale of refined petroleum products valued at N1.96 billion.
Acting on the matter, the EFCC went to the Federal High Court and 2 days ago, following an ex parte application, were able to obtain an order from Justice Hadiza Shagari of the Federal High Court for the interim forfeiture of N1.96 billion over alleged fraudulent sale of refined petroleum. With Ontario’s new stance, however, the company is claiming to have settled the debt but Union Bank, “for reasons best known to them, failed to heed several exchanges for the liquidation of the debt which Ontario diligently dealt with within the 60-day expiration of the facility.”
Ontario says it would fight for the vacation of EFCC’s ex parte application. “We do not owe Union Bank. All proceeds arising from the transaction has been fully redeemed. Any differential is as a result of the devaluation of the Naira. Ontario would do everything legal to vacate the ex parte application” their statement read.