How Union Bank Loses N13.2B To Alleged Fraudster
A limited liability company, Bulk Strategic Reserve Limited and its company Secretary, Ben Amego, have dragged Union Bank Plc before a Federal High Court, Lagos over alleged harassment and intimidation by EFCC, alleging that the commission was being used by the bank in a bid to recover debt of N13.2 billion owed the bank by a limited liability company Danium Energy Services Limited.
However, Union Bank Plc while denying the allegation in its statement of defence, said it sent a petition to EFCC regarding stealing, diversion and conversion of N13.2 billion involving an Oil company Danium Energy Services Limited, its Chairman, Kehinde Ogbor Eliot, Ehidiamen Eremosele and other directors of the company and not against the applicants as alleged the petitioners.
Joined as co -defendants in the suit arethe Economic and Financial crimes Commission and Danium Energy Services Limited.
In the said suit filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer, Barrister Chima Umezuruike on behalf of Bulk Strategic Reserve Limited and Ben Amego, it was alleged that by a Proforma Invoice dated 27th February, 2015, Pipeline and Products Marketing Company Limited, PPMC, a subsidiary of NNPC agreed to sell 5000 metric tonnes of Kerosene to Bulk Strategic Reserve for the sum of N261,964,500 the sum the company duly paid to PPMC, thereafter the company agreed to sell its right to purchase the said 5000 metric tonnes to Danium Energy Services for the sum of N384,300,000, while Danium Energy Services took both the letter and the Proforma Invoice to its bank, Union Bank Plc and instructed the bank to pay the sum of N384,300,000 to Bulk Strategic Reserve company which the bank did.
The three parties executed two Deeds of Indemnity for the substitution of the contracts for the sale and purchase of Kerosene with contract for the sale and purchase of Petrol and Danium account was duly credited with the said credit note.
The plaintiff said that when Danium went to PPMC to take delivery of the Petrol, PPMC refused to deliver any product to Danium because it alleged that Danium was owing it from earlier transaction more than the sum of N261,964,500 which the applicant had paid PPMC.
The company, Bulk Strategic Services further contended that Union Bank later went to EFCC alleging that it (Bulk Strategic Reserve Limited and Ben Amego) defraud it.
Consequently in August 2017, all the account of Bulk Strategic Reserve Limited were frozen by EFCC on the ground that Bulk Strategic Reserve Company and Danium conspired to divert the said sum of N384,300,000 which Union Bank Plc paid to Bulk Strategic Reserve Company account on the instruction of Danium
The plaintiffs (Bulk Strategic Reserve Company) said that on 13th of November, 2017, Ben Amego was arrested by the EFCC and was compelled to issue banker’s draft for the sum of N50 million while he was given a week to show how they will pay balance N72 million.
Consequently, the applicants while demanding for N100 million damages, also urged the court to restraining EFCC from further arresting him.
However, in a counter affidavit sworn to by Union Bank Plc’s Relationship Manager, George Okoh, the bank alleged that contrary to the affidavit of the applicants, that pursuant to Danium Energy Services Limited, the bank granted Danium Energy Services the $50 million import facility to finance importation of Petroleum products.
Union Bank said sometime in 2015 Danium Energy received from the bank N384,300,000 to enable the company buy 5000 metric tonnes of kerosene from Bulk Strategic Reserve Company.
Union Bank said it confirmed the authenticity of the transaction and that upon confirmation of same from Bulk Strategic Reserve Company, the bank transferred the sum of N384,300,000 to Bulk Strategic Reserve Company.
The bank said that after the transfer, till date it did not receive the proceeds of sale or delivery of the financed product from Danium
Consequently, Union Bank instructed its lawyer to report the activities of Danium Energy Services to law enforcement agency for proper investigation and possible prosecution,adding that the petition was not against the applicants, but Danium Energy Services.
In its petition to EFCC against Danium Energy Services Limited, its Chairman Kehinde Ogbor Eliot, Ehidiamen Eromosele and other directors of Danium Energy Services limited, Union Bank urged the anti -graft agency to use its good offices to investigate a clear case of stealing, fraud, diversion and conversion of Petroleum products valued at N13,294,994,444.12 of depositors funds by Danium Energy Services Limited and the directors of the company,
The bank contended that the applicants suit did not disclose any reasonable cause of action against it.
In its response EFCC, in an affidavit sworn to by an investigating officer, Saidu Abdullahi , the deponent averred that EFCC received a petition from the law firm of Anoka and Associate on behalf of Union Bank alleging a case of stealing, fraud, diversion and conversion of refined petroleum products valued at N13,294,994,444.12 against Danium Energy Services Limited, their Chairman Kehinde Ogbor Eliot, Ehidiamen Eremosele and all the directors of Danium Energy services Limited.
The investigating officer averred that in the course of investigation, it was discovered that Bulk Strategic Reserve Company played a prominent role in respect of a Proforma Invoice issued by PPMC in relating to a 5000 metric tonnes of Kerosene which was paid for, but was not supplied, hence, invitation was sent to the applicants to come and state their side.
The EFCC added that Ben Amego made statement and was granted administrative bail, he deposited his International Passport, adding that he later applied for the release of the passport to enable him travel to United States to enable him attend court proceedings involving his company
”However, he did not only refuse to return the international passport, he had also failed to report for further investigation activities as required by his administrative bail condition .”
The anti-graft agency said it will be in the interest of Justice to dismiss the suit as same is intended to shield the applicants from further investigation and possible flight.
The case has been adjourned for hearing.