- Last Updated on 08 January 2013
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The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday declined to grant an ex-parte order registering the in-country enforcement of a London High Court order freezing the assets of Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah and Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited.
Access Bank plc, which obtained the injunction last year from Queen’s Bench Division, London, had brought the application ex-parte praying the court for an order permitting the registration of the London order and to enforce it as though it were an order of the Federal High Court.
But Justice Abdul Kafarati who heard the counsel arguments in his chamber asked the Access Bank to put Capital Oil and Gas Industries on notice to enable it present its own side of the case.
The Queen’s Bench Division had placed a worldwide order (mareva injunction) against the assets of Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah and his company, Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited, pending the determination a suit brought by the bank.
The bank accused Ubah and his company of fraudulent diversion of petroleum products it financed under the joint venture agreement between Capital Oil and Coscharis Motors Limited.
Also restrained alongside Ubah and Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited are Rofos Navigation Limited, Xifias Navigation Limited, Heli Navigation Limited and Tutbury Maritime Limited.
The London order by Mr. Justice Cooke was given three days after Ubah and his company obtained a similar injunction last year in Nigeria to restrain the bank and Coscharis Motors Limited from interfering with his assets.
Cooke had ordered that until the return date or further order of the court, Ubah and company, Capital Oil, must not remove from England, Wales or any other part of the United Kingdom, any of their assets in the countries valued at over $133m or in any way dispose of, deal with or diminish the value of any of their assets up to the same value.
The injunction also covers the following assets: the property and assets of the respondent’s business known as Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited at 1 Capital Oil Close, Westminster; Ibru Jetty Complex, Ibafon Apapa, Lagos State; or the sale of the money, if any of them have been sold.
The court also ordered that until a further order of the court, the respondent and each of the parties are prohibited from taking any steps whatsoever, whether directly or indirectly, to dissipate, dispose or in any way impinge on Access Bank’s right in and to any product covered by six Bills of Lading dated October 8, 2011, October 14, 2011, October 18, 2011, November 10, 2011, November 13, 2011, and December 21, 2011 including (but not limited) to products that have been and will be received into the shore tanks at Apapa, Lagos, and in particular, approximately 40,000 metric tonnes received in June/or August 2012.
Counsel representing Capital Oil and Gas Industries, Prince Orji Nwafor-Orizu said yesterday that all the orders against assets of his client had been ex-parte, which ought not to be.
“We are waiting until we are served,” he added.
The matter has been adjourned to February 11, 2013 for hearing.