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Sunday, 31 January 2016

Obat Oil Management react to N1.2B Subsidy Diversion allegation
..... Company not Shut Down

Following the recent N1.2Billion subsidy diversion controversy between Obat Oil and Petroleum and Petrocam Trading. Obat Oil has released a statement through it’s Head, Legal Seun Bakare, stating the company’s side of the story. ‘Our attention has been drawn to a series of viral newspaper publications on an alleged N1.2b subsidy diversion claimed by the Managing Director of Petrocam Trading Nig. Ltd, Mr. Patrick Ilo against us, Obat Oil & Petroleum Ltd.We hereby state categorically that there was no time Obat Oil diverted any N1.2b as claimed by Petrocam and It is pertinent to state clearly at this point that there was never a time that our tank farm was shut down as we are fully in operation; we were only invited by the EFCC based on the petition Mr. Patrick Ilo wrote to the commission through his Solicitors. The transactions which gave rise to the false reports and the spurious claims from which they have sprung have already been submitted to the Court’s consideration and ordinarily should not be the subject of discourse or advertorials. However, Petrocam Trading has gone out of its way to lodge false complaints against us and set in motion a sequence of events that have been widely reported. We are therefore constrained to protect our professional goodwill, integrity and reputation by putting out this publication.Sometime in 2014, PetrocamTrading approached Obat Oil & Petroleum Ltd for a business transaction with Petrocam making an offer to finance the Importation of PMS through its bank, Sterling Bank, for Obat Oil. Both parties signed a service agreement to commence the transaction and Petrocam did undertake the Importation of 15,000Metric Tons of PMS in lots either by its own resources or through its Bank. During the course of the business transaction and at conclusion, Petrocam failed to fulfill its obligations under the service agreement.For instance, Petrocampaid N3 per litre of the allocation as opposed to the agreed sum of N5 per litre. This was the first act of breach displayed by Petrocam Trading. Despite our best efforts at attempting to get the issue of the outstanding payment resolved while and the same time hoping that business could still be done with Petrocam, the business relationship broke down. We invited Mr. Patrick Ilo for reconciliation on several occasions to enable parties reconcile their accounts based on the transactions and resolve issues but he declined. Rather than agree to our invitation for joint account reconciliation, Mr. Patrick and Petrocam Trading curiously obtained and published our UBA statement of account without our consent, permission or authorization. It became obvious that Petrocam was shying away from facts because he had skeletons in his cupboard. While Petrocam thrived in its default of the Service Agreement by failing to make full payment for the petroleum products it loaded, it instituted an action on the 19thof November, 2015 before the Lagos State High Court in suit No. LD /1411CMW/2015 seeking sundry reliefs including injunctions. In that suit, Petrocam lay claims to the Subsidy, Forex differentials and accrued interest being expected from the Federal Government as payments for seventeen (17) transactions/importations belonging to Obat Oil, of which Petrocam participated only in six (6).Needless to say, Petrocam’s attempt to appropriate to itself payments, accrued interest and forex differentials meant for several other bank transactions/importationsis completely illogical, factually incredulous and legally unfounded.We take the view that Petrocam is not entitled to any sum at all. The money paid to AMCON belongs to Obat and not Petrocam and is entirely unconnected to the Service Agreement executed by Obat and Petrocam. Thus, until the Court determines who owns what, Petrocam cannot claim any sums standing to our credit or compulsorily take over assets belonging to us. Further exposing the falsity of Petrocam’s public claims as reported in the publications is the fact that in its processes filed before the Court, Petrocam concedes that it has completely received the alleged N1.2b subsidy claim in question. The report in the papers as well as the false reports on which they are based not only amount to speaking from both sides of the mouth but also underscore a possible intention by Petrocam to obtain from us what is not due to it. Surprisingly, while Obat Oil were to compare books with Petrocam for reconciliation and to determine the position of the account on the transaction, Mr. Patrick Ilo maliciously wrote a petition to EFCC and DSS claiming that his money was diverted by Obat, without stating the true facts as narrated herein before the agencies. This move was not only surprising, it was unlawful as the position of the law, as we have been made aware, is that the EFCC (and indeed, law enforcement agencies in general) are prohibited from acting as agents of debt collection with respect to transactions of a purely civil nature, such as the Service Agreement business transaction between two firms for a matter that is still a subject of litigation. We therefore denounce the invasion of our premises by agents of the state acting on lopsided reports presented by a party that has some interest to serve. We state categorically that Obat Oil did not divert N1.2b or any sums whatsoever accruable to Petrocam or Sterling Bank. We restate our invitation to Petrocam for amicable discussions to determine what is accruable to both parties. We reject and will not capitulate to any attempts by Petrocam to harass Obat Oil with the press or government agencies as we are fully aware of the remedies available to us under the law- and will fully explore them. In conclusion, we take exception to any malicious publication and slander orchestrated by certain people in a bid to disrupt our business. For the avoidance of doubt, EFCC did not close our depot facility. We were only invited because of the petition and lies being spread by Mr Patrick Ilo and Petrocam. We urge the public to disregard the misinformation peddled in the false and malicious publications as well as desist from propagating same, in their best interests’

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