N24bn Money Laundering: Nigerian Firm Sues British Company …Fraud that Killed Spring Bank Revealed

Ladipo Sanusi/

A Nigerian firm has received the green light to serve court processes on a British company over alleged laundering of N24billion and revelation of a $16million loan fraud said to have killed Spring Bank.

A Federal High Court, in Lagos, granted leave to the Nigerian company, Nadabo Energy Limited, to serve court processes on the British firm, Trafigura Beheer B.V, out of jurisdiction, and five Nigerian companies that allegedly laundered N24billion.

In a bid to recover the money allegedly laundered by Trafigura Beeher B.V, a limited liability company in Nigeria, Nadabo Energy Limited has dragged the London-based firm before the Court.

Joined as co-defendants, in the legal battle to secure court order to detain million barrels of oil belonging to the company, are five Nigerian companies – Mettle Energy &Gas Limited, Renbrant Limited, Jill Engineering and Oil Services Limited, Q&Q Control Services Nigeria limited, General Marine and Oil Services Limited.

In his argument before the Court, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Chief Emefo Etudo said that all the parties had been served, and there was need for the Court to order them to maintain status quo.

In his ruling, Justice Rilwan Aikawa, while adjourning till Friday for further hearing, ordered all court process to be served on the defendants, while status quo is maintained.

In an affidavit sworn to by the Executive Director of Nadabo Energy Company, Mr Reuben Etila, and filed before the Court by a Lagos lawyer, Adeola Ojo, the deponent averred that, Nadabo Energy Company obtained $16million loan from Spring Bank Plc to import petroleum products for onward supply to Mobil, however, Trafigura Beheer B. V colluded with some officials of the bank to steal substantial part of the money and the supply cargo now valued at N24 billion from the Nadabo Company.

The money was allegedly received by letters of credit and was converted to multiple businesses, shipping and crude oil lifting, and 950,000 barrels of crude oil it is attempting to load this month at ExxonMobil /Esso Terminal ERHA. The crude oil belongs to the plaintiff.

Etila also averred that the said fraud that killed Spring Bank Plc was just discovered this year, and President Muhammadu Buhari has just been petitioned for swift action, therefore it is necessary not to allow Trafigura Beheer BV to take all her properties (crude oil) out of the jurisdiction so that any judgement given by the Court will not be in vain.

The plaintiffs added that Spring Bank died as a result of the alleged fraud and the Nadabo Company was blacklisted from securing further loan from any Nigerian Bank until the debt is paid.

Heritage acquired Enterprise Bank limited that acquired Spring Bank Plc. Heritage Bank Plc sued the company.

The deponent further alleged that the stolen assets of the company had been converted into ships and crude oil by Trafigura Beheer B.V and other colluding parties, and the plaintiff in this legal action is claiming title to the said laundered assets as notice of discovery was also given to the respondents this year.

“The company which is a foreign company upon receipt of the said notice decided to quickly move her known assets, within the jurisdiction of the Court, out and vanish to Europe,” says the deponent.

Meanwhile, Nadabo Energy Limited Company, has filed an undertaking as to damages with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Court and therein deposed that it will indemnify the defendants or whosoever of any damage that might be caused by making of the order of injunction if it turned out that the order ought not to have been made.