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Business

Court suspends Mareva injunction, orders opening of Seplat’s corporate offices

The Court of Appeal has suspended the interim order issued by a Federal High Court sealing the corporate Offices of Seplat Petroleum Development Company.

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A Lagos Court of Appeal has ordered the suspension of an interim order issued by a Federal High Court sealing the corporate offices of Seplat Petroleum Development Company.

The closure of Seplat’s office was ordered over loan facilities Cardinal Drilling Services Limited allegedly owes Access Bank Plc.

The court lifts the interim order on the stance that Access Bank had nothing to lose if Seplat continued to discharge its obligation to its numerous customers.

While delivering a ruling on an application by the petroleum company for an order of the Court suspending the interim order pending the determination of the appeal filed by Seplat, Justice Joseph Ikyegh held that the balance of convenience favoured the petroleum company.

Justice Ikyegh, however, ordered the company to issue a bond of $20 million in the name of the Court’s Chief Registrar, an order the company’s counsel Etigwe Uwa, SAN said had been complied with.

The Court rejected Access Bank’s argument that suspending the interim order would amount to dabbling into the substantive issues that ought to be determined while hearing the main appeal. The Court noted that Seplat supplied gas to three power plants that generate almost 40 per cent of power supply in Nigeria and that it would not be able to deliver this service if the order was not suspended.

What they are saying

Justice Joseph Ikyegh said:

“The fear and anxiety expressed by the 1st Respondent (Access Bank) appeared unfounded. It would also not amount to hearing the substantive suit.

“The Supreme Court has held that where machines and workers would be rendered useless, the court would intervene.

“Disruption of business should be considered in the issue of balance of convenience. The court will exercise its discretion in suspending the injunction.

“Practical approach should be adopted and not do injustice to any of the parties.

“Where considerable hardship will be done to a party, the court will intervene by suspending the injunction or stay it.

“I found substance in the argument. The injunction restraining the appellant from operating is hereby suspended.

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“Order on its accounts are also lifted pending the determination of the appeal.”

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What you should know

  • Recall that Nairametrics reported some months ago that Access Bank obtained an Ex-Parte Order dated November 13th, 2020, to seal the assets of Seplat.
  • The bank also obtained a Mareva injunction freezing the accounts of Seplat in Nigeria and abroad.
  • Seplat had appealed the December 24, 2020 decision of the Federal High Court granting injunctions that, among others, resulted in the sealing of its corporate offices in Lagos.
  • The Federal High Court had earlier turned down an application by Seplat to access its accounts and offices which were earlier shut down by a Mareva injunction obtained by Access Bank against it.
  • Access Bank is understood to be grappling with a string of bad loans issued under the defunct Diamond Bank, and is now stepping up efforts to go after some of the debtors by obtaining several court orders to seize properties.

Seplat has continued to maintain that the loan agreements evidenced by letters of offer of credit facility were all between Diamond Bank Plc. (now Access Bank Plc.) and Cardinal Drilling Services Limited, while the three Deeds of Debenture to the loan were over specific and fixed assets of Cardinal Drilling viz four Drilling Rigs set out in the schedules of the three Deeds of Debenture.

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Omokolade Ajayi is a graduate of Economics, and a certificate holder of the CFA Institute’s Investment Foundation Program. He is a business analyst, and equity market researcher, with wealth of experience as a retail investor. He is a business owner and a stern advocate of Financial literacy, who believes in the huge economic prospect of the Nigerian Payment channels and Fintech space.

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Business

Lagos, Chinese firm to rollout 1,000 SUVs as taxis, to complete auto assembly plant in 12 months

Lagos State Government has signed an agreement with a Chinese firm to roll-out 1,000 SUVs as taxis for Lagos residents.

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Lagos dismisses levy on audio and visual contents, suspends LSFVCB boss, Lagos SEC meeting goes virtual as full lockdown commences, Partial lockdown guidelines for businesses from May 4, Nigeria @ 60: Lagos State Government opts for a low-key celebration of the Independence Day

Lagos State Government has signed an agreement with a Chinese firm, Choice International Group (CIG) Motors Co. Ltd. on Thursday for the roll-out of 1,000 Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) as taxis for Lagos residents.

The signing and flag-off ceremony which was held at the Lagos House, Marina also included the signing of an agreement for the establishment of a Motor Assembly Plant in Lagos State, with the Governor saying that the roll-out of vehicles from the plant is expected within the next 12 to 18 months.

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said that the Lagos State Taxi Scheme was another innovative policy of his administration targeted at making life easier for Lagosians, improving mobility and creating a seamless multi-modal transport system.

Sanwo-Olu said that the scheme would create jobs, accelerate socio-economic growth, and further put the state on the global map as the centre of excellence and a modern megacity committed to sustainable development.

What Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is saying

Sanwo-Olu pointed out that the task of bequeathing a safe, efficient, quick, and modern public transport system is a key thrust of the administration’s T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda.

He said, ”We are guided by the need for an equitable transport system with mobility choices for our people. The Taxi Scheme, to be known as ”Lagos Ride”, which is being inaugurated today is in fulfilment of our desire to give Lagosians transport choices.

”It is one of the Lagos State Government’s socio-economic intervention programmes- a modern ride-hailing service that will be professionally managed in line with global best practices. Under the Lagos State Taxi Service, drivers/operators will be given the cars for a period of four years during which they pay a monthly instalment and they will have the opportunity of owning the cars after they have fully paid the hire amount.

”The Lagos State Taxi Service is structured along a profitability model, it is self-sustaining and able to expand and regenerate itself,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said that the establishment of the Motor Assembly Plant was expected to revive industrialisation, increase citizens’ employment and wealth creation, boost tourism, and encourage technology sharing, adaptation, and advancement.

He said, ”As we inaugurate the taxis and sign the Joint Venture Agreement for the establishment of the Motor Assembly Plant, Lagosians should expect a roll-out of vehicles from this plant within the next 12 to 18 months.

”I urge the beneficiaries of the Lagos State Taxi Service to collaborate with us to sustain the scheme.We have the political and administrative will to ensure the Taxi Scheme survives.

”I am hopeful that the operators will cooperate with the Lagos State Government to render excellent service to the people,” he said.

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The Group Chairman, CIG Motors, Diana Chen, said that they hope to celebrate this exciting moment again when 1,000 units of branded SUVs with high-tech technology arrive and run across Lagos streets and roads, with 1,000 well-trained drivers carrying happy customers that live and work in Lagos.

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What this means

  • This collaboration by the Lagos State Government with the Chinese auto firm is one of the ways of the government to get private sector participation in a modern transport system within the metropolis’
  • The establishment of the Assembly Plant and the Lagos Taxi Scheme were among the benefits of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s official trip to China.
  • This is a welcome development as it will help to change the face of public transportation in the state.

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Business

FG announces extension of work-from-home directive for GL 12 officers, below

FG has extended the work-from-home directive for civil servants from GL 12 and below until the end of March.

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Nigeria gradually moves to total lockdown as FG asks public servants to work from home

The Federal Government has announced the extension of the work-from-home directive for civil servants from GL 12 and below until the end of March.

This is seen as part of the measure by the government to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic which had surged earlier this year, due to the second wave of the outbreak across the country and the discovery of a new variant of the disease.

This announcement was made in a statement by the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF), Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, and signed by the Director of Press and Public Relations, the office of HOSF, Mr Abdulganiyu Aminu, on Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Abuja.

READ: FG sets committee to support tech start-ups with affordable internet access amid lockdown

The statement partly reads, “All public servants on GL12 and below have been directed to continue working from home till the end of March 2021.

Yemi-Esan said the latest directive was in adherence to the advice of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19.

The Head of Service of the Federation harped on the need to maintain the downward trend of the Covid-19 infection in the country and as such the reason for the extension of work from home directive.

While also emphasising the need for all public servants to continue to ensure strict compliance with the existing guidelines on the prevention and spread of the pandemic, she enjoined all Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive officers to bring the content of the circular to all concerned and ensure strict compliance.

READ: Landlords offer incentives to counter “work from home” induced vacancy rates

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the Federal Government in January 2021, announced the extension of work from home directive for civil servants on Grade Level 12 and below until February 28, 2021.
  • The directive was as a result of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic which had seen a spike in infection rates across the country.

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