More Trouble for Omokore, Aluko, as FG, 1st Bank Battle to Recover $1.7bn Debt

Ladipo Sanusi/

A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed a date to decide the fate of a suit seeking the recovery of $1,762,338,184.40 from the oil firms of two Nigerian businessmen, Olajide Omokore and Kolawole Aluko.

Omokore and Aluko

Omokore, Aluko and the two companies allegedly owe the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FGN) $1, 762, 338, 284.40 for crude oil lifted under the Strategic Alliance Agreements (SAT) between them and the Federal Government.

The case was adjourned till September 29, 2017, for the Court to decide whether to stay proceeding or not in the suit filed by the FGN and two of its agencies against Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited (AEDC) and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited (AEBD), in order to recover the money.

Omokore and Aluko, who are Chairman and Director of the two companies respectively, are joined as co-defendants in the suit.

Apart from a pending application filed before the Court by Omokore and Aluko seeking a stay of proceeding on the suit which they had filed an appeal against, there is another pending application filed by a limited liability company, Virtual Properties and Investment Limited as an intervener.

It is urging the Court to discharge or vary its order, as it relates to Marion Apartments, on the grounds that the property known as Marion Apartments located at Block 8 Plots 4&5 Onikoyi Estate, Banana Island, Ikoyi, consists of 56 apartments owned and developed by the intervener by virtue of two separate deeds of sublease the intervener conveyed its interest in 43 out of the 56 apartments to Realblanc Energy Engineering limited, an affiliate company of the defendants.

The intervener says it still retains ownership of 13 out of the 56 apartments in Marion Apartments; therefore the order of the Court is prejudicial to its interest and interferes with its right of ownership over these flats.

The FGN had sometimes last year, alongside the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC) and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) dragged Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and two of their Directors, Omokore and Aluko before the Court. They urged the Court to restrain the defendants and their agents from giving instructions, demanding, accepting or receiving payment from 19 commercial banks in Nigeria, 8 offshore banks, and 8 other companies listed before the Court.

The applicants in an affidavit sworn to by a legal practitioner, Oginni Isaac Kehinde, of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja, and filed before Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo by a Lagos lawyer, Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN), averred that Omokore, Aluko and their two companies are indebted to FGN.

Ogini averred that the defendants by virtue of the SAT agreement were granted license to lift crude oil and other associated products in Nigeria for sale and for parties to share the profits in agreed terms.

“The defendants indeed lifted and sold the crude oil and have been paid, but bluntly and deliberately refused to pay the Federal Government; rather, they unlawfully diverted and converted the profits share due to the Federal Government in the sum of $1,762, 338, 184.40 to their private use,” Ogini stated.

The deponent listed the particular diversion as follows: “Several vehicles with combined value of over N800 million were purchased by the defendants and donated to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) through its National Chairman, Prince Secondus.

“Additional vehicles valued at over N130million were purchased by the defendants and distributed to former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Dieziani Alison-Maduekwe, and some other managerial staff of NPDC.

“He also stated that the sums of $18,548,619.99, and N1, 070, 000 were paid to FBN Mortgages limited by Aluko as part payment for Block A, consisting of 26 Flats at 46 Gerrard Road Ikoyi Lagos purchased at a total cost of N5, 210, 520, 315.

The deponent also stated that payment of a total sum of $25, 839, 606.77, and N95million were made to Real Bank for the purpose of part financing the acquisition of AEDC and AEBD companies’ property as well as renovation of some properties.

Some of the properties were identified as: Mason apartments situated at 6, Gerrard Road, Ikoyi Lagos comprising 60 units of 3 bedrooms apartment, valued at $78 million; Marion apartments, Block 8, located at 4&5, Onikoyi Estate, Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos consisting of 43 units of apartments, valued at $76,160, 000; the renovation of apartments block at 33A Cooper Road Ikoyi, Lagos, at a total cost of $4,937,750; and the renovation of the Admiralty Towers at 8, Gerrard Road Ikoyi, Lagos.

He also stated that the defendants made additional funds transfers among others, up to $69,912,981.15 to several companies namely: Mia Hotels Limited, First Motors Limited; V.I. Petrochemicals, Evergreen Reality & Management, WIz Trade limited, DE First Union Integrated Services and Amity Plus limited.

Ogini also averred that Aluko literally took residence outside the shores of Nigeria in order to facilitate the diversion of the proceeds of the crude oil lifted

The venture which includes physical assets, cash in the bank and shares as at 2014 are as follows: Grove End Road, London; 755 Sarbone Road, Los Angeles; 952 North Alpine drive Los Angeles; 815Cima Del Mundo, Los Angeles; 807 Coma Del Mundo (Land); 1049 Fifth Avenue, New York; 1948 & 1952 Tolls Avenue, Santa Baraba; 157 West 57th St, New York 4100 Let Revenge, Dubai.

Others include; residences in Nigeria; Avenue Towers, Lagos, Nigeria; land in Mont Tremblat, Canada; Colina D’oro Montagnola, Switzerland, while cash in bank accounts are as follows: LDT Switzerland -$25milion; Corner Bank, Lugano, Switzerland -$1 million; Deutsche Bank, Geneva -$40million; HSBC London $175,000.

Alleged investments in shares are: 75 per cent shareholding in AEDC and AEBD; 10 per cent shareholding in Seven Energy.

Other Holdings include: a yacht called Galactica Star; 20 Year Berth Lease -Barcelona; watch Collection; Car Collections (58 Vehicles); Aeroplane-Global Express S5-GMG; Aeroplane-Bombardier Global 6000 9H-OPE; Aeroplane Bombardier.

The deponent consequently urged the Court, as a matter of utmost urgency and public interest, in aid of administration of Justice to issue a worldwide Mareva Order, restraining the defendants from dissipating all known assets directly or indirectly by the defendants, including but not limited to assets listed on the face of the motion paper filed before the Court.

After hearing the submission of the counsel to the Federal Government, Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN), Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo issued an order restraining the defendants and their agents from demanding, receiving, transacting, mortgaging or whatsoever dealing in any manners with the assets of the defendants in banks, houses, land and shares in Nigeria and others located outside Nigeria, while the Nigerian banks listed in the motion papers were ordered to within seven days sequestrate all money and negotiable instruments standing to the credit of the defendants in the sum of $1,762,338,184.40, and keep same in an interest yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of the Court as trustee of same, pending the determination of the motion on notice.

The Court also ordered that the ruling should be served on the affected parties through advertisement in Newspapers circulating within and outside the Federal Republic of Nigeria.