… ‘There was no case of fraudulent diversion’ Ontario Counsel insist
By Yinka Ajayi
Following the order issued by Justice Hadiza Shagari of the Federal High Court ordering Union Bank to de froze some account, the management of Ontario Oil and Gas Limited has denied any fraudulent sale of refined petroleum products, as alleged by Union Bank Plc.
Fielding questions from news men on Monday in Lagos , Ben Udoh counsel to Ontario stated : “The matter of a commercial transaction between her and the bank which dates back to 2014.
“Indeed, we approached Union Bank in 2014 for an $11 million facility. A letter of Credit (LC ) was issued same year but was amended to $9.9 million in May 2015. The said sum ($9.9)was paid to the supplier, Petrocam Trading Limited.
“Contrary to impressions created by Union Bank, there was no case of fraudulent diversion and conversion of proceeds as alleged. We would like to confirm on good authority that the products were duly imported and sold in the open market,” Udoh said.
Adding, “Total proceeds from the transaction was N1.9billion, and in line with our offer letter and best practice, same amount was provided for. The management of Union Bank was subsequently advised to bid for appropriate foreign exchange to discharge the LC.
“Unfortunately, Union Bank, for reasons best known to them, failed to heed several exchanges for the liquidation of the debt which Ontario diligently dealt with within the 60-day expiration of the facility.”
Speaking further, he regretted that “Union Bank had unwittingly shot itself on the foot by its failure to register the Form M with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), nearly 8 months after, which made it difficult for them to successfully bid for forex to tidy up the transaction.”
“However, we are surprised that the ex parte order which targeted Ontario Oil and Gas Limited was used to seize the assets of The Renoire Logistics which is an independent entity with no similar directors or ownership. Union Bank failed to transparently manage this transaction and should blame itself for allowing the devaluation of the Naira to hurt its interests.”
“We do not owe Union Bank. All proceeds arising from the transaction has been fully redeemed. Any differential is as a result of devaluation of the Naira. Ontario would do everything legal to vacate the ex parte application,” Mr Udoh noted.