Oando: London court orders Tinubu’s firms to pay $680m debt

Oando: London court orders Tinubu firms to pay $680m debt: A fresh twist emerged in the Oando Plc crisis following an order by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) which directed the two companies owned by the Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc, Mr. Wale Tinubu and his deputy, Mr. Mofe Boyo, to pay a total debt of US$680 million (equivalent of N244.8 billion) to Ansbury Investments Inc, which is owned by Mr. Gabriele Volpi.

The court, in its ruling on July 6, 2018, held that Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) British Virgin Islands, which owns 55.96% of Oando PLC through a holding company named Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) Nigeria Ltd, is indebted to Ansbury Investment Inc. to the tune of US$600 million (equivalent of N216 billion).

Oando: London court orders Tinubu firms to pay $680m debt
Oando: London court orders Tinubu firms to pay $680m debt

An international lawyer and counsel to Ansbury Investment, Mr. Andrea Moja, who made available the court order yesterday to newsmen, said the arbitration court also held that a company known as Whitmore Asset Management Limited, whose ultimate beneficial owners are Wale Tinubu and Mofe Boyo, are indebted to Ansbury Investment to the tune of another US$80 million (N28.8 billion). This brings the total debt owed by the Oando to Ansbury Investment to US$680 million.

The judgement identified the family of a Nigerian-Italian, Mr. Gabriele Volpi, as the ultimate beneficial owner of Ansbury, while Mr. Wale Tinubu and Mr. Mofe Boyo are the ultimate beneficial owners of Whitmore Assets Management Limited.

The London Arbitration Court held that an existing “Third Shareholders Agreement” between the parties is fully and legally binding on the parties as claimed by Ansbury Investment.

The documents indicate that a final award in which the court will pronounce on accrued interests on the debts owed and legal expenses incurred by Ansbury will follow in the next few days. The LCIA award has been communicated to the parties concerned since July 9, 2018, a statement from Ansbury said.

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Oando: London court orders Tinubu firms to pay $680m debt
Oando: London court orders Tinubu firms to pay $680m debt

The Ansbury statement reads in part: “The award has been communicated to the parties on July 9th, 2018 and the key terms are as follows: The claim of Whitmore Asset Management Limited that the parties agreed to a binding fourth shareholders agreement was rejected. The court upheld the position that the third shareholders agreement is fully and legally binding between the parties as stated by Ansbury Investments Inc.”

When the disagreement broke in 2017, Ansbury petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in May accusing the management of Oando PLC of mismanagement, cooked books and huge indebtedness.

Ansbury also informed SEC that Oando’s “Current liabilities as at December 31, 2016, far exceeds the current assets by N263.7 billion, confirming serious financial imbalance from the previous financial year.”

The petition culminated in the suspension of Oando’s shares on the floors of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in October 2017. The suspension was however lifted on April 11, 2018.

(Daily Trust)

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