A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has vacated an order it granted interalia frozen different accounts belonging to an oil company; Petralon Energy and Petralon 54 domiciled in 18 banks across the country.
Delivering a ruling in a motion filed by the company praying the Court to unfreeze the accounts, the presiding judge, Hon. Justice Daniel Osiagor held that the court was misled to grant an order frozen the company’s accounts, which it subsequently reversed and unfrozen the accounts.
Justice Osiagor in his considered view stated that after the court reviewed and discovered some material facts missing, it decided to vacate the earlier order ordering the frozen of the company’s accounts.
Eurafic Energy, another oil exploration company had approached the court praying it to bar operations and transactions on the bank accounts belonging to Petralon Energy on the ground that the company was owing some banks.
However, in a Motion filed by Petralon Energy, it prayed the court to lift the order banning operation of it’s account, arguing that the defendants, particularly
Eurafic Energy ‘suppressed and deliberately’ hid material facts concerning the case from the court.
Justice Daniel Osiagor in his consolidated judgment ruled that Exhibit Volte Face F exhibited in the Plaintiff’s Counter Affidavit and Exhibit G exhibited in the Defendant’s Counter clearly indicated that the Plaintiff (Eurafric Energy) gave consent for the loan of $2.2m to be obtained, but this fact was not disclosed to the Court before the restraining Order on the Defendant’s accounts.
The banks affected by the order of court are Access Bank Plc, Ecobank Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc; First City Monument Bank Plc; Guaranty Trust Bank Plc; Jaiz Bank Plc; Keystone Bank Plc; Polaris Bank Plc, Stanbic Ibtc Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc; Globus Bank Plc; Titan Bank Plc; Providus Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, Standard Chartered Bank Plc; Sterling Bank Plc; Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc.
Justice Osiagor, held that upon consideration of Petralon’s Affidavit in response to Eurafric’s Counter Affidavit deposed to on October12, 2022 and the Reply Address in support of the Motion to Set Aside the Ex parte Orders, discovered that Eurafric had grossly misinformed the court and caused the institution of justice to act in error.
Eurafic Energy had approached the court with the claim that Petralon 45, Petralon Energy and Tako E&P Solutions (three) oil companies did not declare the total quantity of crude sold, the amount it was sold and the royalty paid to the government in a joint venture transaction.
“Our findings revealed that until June 28, 2022 when Petralon 54 became the sole operator of the Dawes Island Marginal Field having being granted Petroleum Prospecting License No. 259 (PPL 259) by the Federal Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, the plaintiff (Eurafric Energy), Petralon 45, Petralon Energy and Tako E&P Solutions were joint venture (JV) partners,” it was held.
The JV arrangement covered exploration operation at Dawes Island pursuant to the Oil Mining License held by the Plaintiff (Eurafric Energy), which was revoked on the grounds of operational ineptitude, poor management and asset abandonment for more than fourteen years, resulting in loss of revenue to the Federal Government of Nigeria and dithering the development of Okrika communities, River State, where the asset is situated.
Earlier in the transaction, the JV had secured a loan of $2.2million from Access Bank for exploration activities, with crude sale proceeds domiciliation agreement with the Bank to offset the loan. In its alleged misleading presentations to the Court, Eurafric Energy was accused of concealing the knowledge of the loan, which exhibit Volte Face F in the plaintiff’s Counter Affidavit and Defendant’s exhibit ‘G’ in its Counter process.
Consequently, Justice Daniel Osiagor in his consolidated ruling and held that Exhibit Volte Face F exhibited in the Plaintiff’s Counter Affidavit and Exhibit G exhibited in the Defendant’s Counter clearly indicated that the Plaintiff (Eurafric Energy) gave consent for the loan of $2.2m to be obtained, but this fact was not disclosed to the Court before the restraining Order on the Defendant’s accounts.