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Polaris Bank, Pan Ocean’s feud over N240bn loan degenerates + AMCON’s OML 147 takeover

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The feud between Polaris Bank-led consortium of lenders and Pan Ocean group over N240 billion loan has degenerated with Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON’s) takeover of Pan Ocean Oil Gas company with all its assets inclusing Oil Mining Lease (OML) 147.

Pan Ocean had accessed funding for the project from the consortium of banks led by Polaris Bank Limited (Former Skye Bank Plc) for the development and production on Oil Mining Lease (OML) 147, which came from OPL 275 in 2014. OML 147 is expected to attain peak output of 11,000 barrels of crude oil and 90 million standard cubic feet of gas per day when fully operational.

The Polaris Bank-led consortium of lenders involved in the project were however, uncomfortable with the delays associated with the projects as this has begun to affect depositors’ money in the banks.

These projects failed to meet up with 2020 Q1 delivery date this year. The oil company had blamed this on reasons including the disruption in business activities and the distortion in the oil and gas sector by the global pandemic.

Pan Ocean and a host of other oil companies who have failed in meeting up with repayment plans have written banks explaining that the COVID-19 outbreak and poor oil economy have made them to put on hold all planned business executions, head of energy unit in one of the top lenders to Platforms Africa.

However, Pan Ocean said in a statement sent to this leading Africa-focused online newspaper that it was determined to go ahead with the project, which also include the expansion of Phase II of the Ovade-Ogharefe Gas Processing Plant/LPG Propane Plant is designed to expand gas processing capacity at the plant to 200 million standard cubic feet per day.

“We accessed funding from the banking system to facilitate expansion plans which were based on sound investment advice and projections. The funds were invested in assets which are verifiable and within Nigeria.

“We remain committed to working with our financial partners to resolve all outstanding issues. We are committed to the rule of law and due process and will continue to rely on legal due process to resolve this issues despite the provocation and lawlessness of the party.

“We call on the leadership of the judiciary and all lovers of democracy and the rule of law to call the erring parties to order.” Pan Ocean said.

The verdict from Court

The Federal High Court, presided over by Justice A.M. Liman, in the suit between the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) vs Everest Nominees Limited, and Dr. Bolaji Ogundare, a subsidiary of Pan Ocean Group, has ordered AMCON and its assignee to take over all the assets of the companies.

Lagos-based oil and gas businessman, Dr. Festus Fadeyi, whose total indebtedness to AMCON is over N240 billion, is the promoter of Pan Ocean Group.

The court had also granted an order appointing AMCON as a Receiver Manager (in accordance with its 2019 Act as amended), and its designated human nominees (Kunle Ogunba Esq.) its privies, and assigns over the assets of Pan Ocean, their corporate guarantors, cronies and cohorts to take over a number of its prime assets over some irreconcilable huge debt owed AMCON by Everest Nominees, Pan Ocean and their promoters as well as directors.

Aside these prime assets of the obligors, Justice Liman also ordered AMCON to take over any other assets, businesses, affairs, undertakings, interests among other belongings to the defendants wherever the same may be found.

He also directed the Inspector-General of Police and his commissioners to assist AMCON and its designates as well as the Court Bailiffs in taking over the assets on behalf of the Corporation.

Pan Ocean kicks

Meanwhile, the management of Pan Ocean Oil (Nigeria) Limited has expressed dismay at what it described as attempted illegal takeover of its properties by AMCON.

According to the firm, on July 2nd, 2020, a team led by Kunle Ogunba, disrupted work activities at two of its facilities under the guise of executing a court order.
The firm noted that the action was taken despite a pending lawsuit marked FHC/L/CS/552/2020 which is before the Court of Appeal in Lagos.

“Our lawyer, Mr. Oluwemimo Ogunde (SAN) had notified Justice Mohammed Liman of a Federal High Court in Lagos, about the pending suit and prayed His Lordship to stay execution of a court order around Pan Ocean’s assets. The attempted takeover of our assets by AMCON and its lawyer is therefore condemnable.”

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