The Asset Management Company of Nigeria AMCON has intervened in the bitter feud between Chairman of Coscharis Motors, Cosmos Maduka and Ifeanyi Ubah’s Capital Oil and Gas Industries over the N21 billion debt owed Access Bank by Ubah’s firm which was guaranteed by Coscharis.
Investigation by THISDAY’ revealed that AMCON has paid Access Bank N16 billion of the N21 billion debt as full and final settlement, leaving a shortfall of N5 billion and accumulated interest of over N6 billion which was borne by Maduka.
The payment by AMCON followed an agreement reached by the feuding parties.
THISDAY further gathered that Maduka, in a deal brokered by AMCON, after some hesitation, finally accepted the full and final payment of N16 billion from AMCON which had taken over the controversial businessman’s liabilities from this particular transactions and others that had massed huge debt.
Sources close to AMCON and Maduka disclosed that the agreement had been signed and sealed and that payment had since been made to Access Bank by AMCON who last year took over Ubah business known as Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited at 1, Capital Oil Close, Westminster; Ibru Jetty Complex, Ibafon Apapa, Lagos State.
The source said Maduka initially did not want to sign the deal “because it amounted to losing over N11 billion, but when he looked at the monthly interest of about N300 million being accumulated by the loan, he had to sign and walk away from the lingering crisis.”
The source alleged that Ubah successfully used the judiciary to frustrate the case against him. “It is so painful. But this is the reality of the country we now live in.”
The source said further: “Maduka had to sell the bulk of his shares in Access Bank to make up the difference and fully settle the debt. It is a big lesson that he learnt from the crisis. There was huge pressure on him to accept the AMCON deal, even from government quarters. He had to budge and move ahead with his life.”
Maduka had accused Ubah and his company of fraudulently diverting the petroleum products financed by Access Bank under the joint venture agreement between Capital Oil and Coscharis Motors Limited.
It alleged that products worth N21 billion was not delivered by Ubah and that the Capital Oil boss failed to return the money.
In the heat of the crisis, a London High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, placed a worldwide order (mareva injunction) against the assets of Ubah and his company, Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited, following a suit filed by Access Bank.
At a point, Ubah was arrested and detained for nearly ten days before he was released. This was based on Maduka’s complaint to the Special Fraud Unit of the police.
In a counter move, the Capital Oil boss sent a petition to the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mohammed Abubakar, alleging threats to his life. He demanded the arrest of Maduka over the alleged threat.
The letter reads: "We are solicitors to Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah of Capital Oil and Gas Industries Ltd. and on whose behalf and mandate we write this petition.
We write to formally inform you about the libelous publications against our client and also threats to his life by Chief Cosmas Maduka of Coscharis Group.
“Our client informed us that sometime in 2011 he entered into a business transaction with Maduka. The business was flourishing until Maduka became dissatisfied with the outcome of the business, consequent upon which he has filed a petition to your office.
“While your men are investigating the matter, which is purely a civil contractual relationship with its attendant rights and liabilities, Maduka went on air – Channels Television and AIT – to slander our client.
“He called our client all sorts of names ranging from a thief to an international fraudster. As though that was not enough and still not allowing your men to do their job, Maduka took four pages in some national newspapers libelled our client and repeated his slander.
“Our client's life is now being threatened as he receives anonymous calls urging him to pay those he owes, while also receiving text messages from unknown persons demanding that he must share the ‘loot’ apparently in reference to Maduka's allegation that he (Ubah) duped him of billions of naira.
“May we point out that our client has neither been convicted of any crime by any court law nor has he been adjudged liable for any breach of contractual business relationship with anyone, including Maduka."
Ubah’s counsel asked the IG to cause the arrest of Maduka, investigate the libellous publications and cause him to write a letter of apology within seven days or face legal action.
He also asked the IG to warn Maduka to desist from further libelous publications against his client pending the conclusion of the police investigation and pending court case or he risks contempt of court.
There were other court cases by the parties involved in the feud, including that of the Mareva injunction against Ubah granted by the UK court. It was granted sequel to an application by Access Bank Plc, aimed at preserving the assets of Capital Oil pending the determination of the suit brought before it by the bank.
Also restrained then, alongside Ubah and Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited, were Rofos Navigation Limited, Xifias Navigation Limited, Heli Navigation Limited and Tutbury Maritime Limited.
The order of the UK court was given three days after Ubah and his company obtained a similar injunction in Nigeria restraining the bank and Coscharis Motors Limited from interfering with his assets.
The court, presided over by Justice Cooke, ordered that until the return date or further order of the court, Ubah and company, Capital Oil, must not remove from England, Wales or any other part of the United Kingdom, any of their assets which are in England and Wales valued at over $133 million or in any way dispose of, deal with or diminish the value of any of their assets up to the same value.
The injunction covers the following assets: The property and assets of the respondent’s business known as Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited at 1, Capital Oil Close, Westminster; Ibru Jetty Complex, Ibafon Apapa, Lagos State; or the sale of the money, if any of them have been sold.
The court further directed that Ubah and Capital Oil should within seven days of service of the order swear and serve on Access Bank’s solicitors an affidavit of all their assets worldwide exceeding £50,000 in value whether in their own names or not and whether solely or jointly owned, giving the value, location and details of such assets.
It noted that failure by the respondents to comply with the orders of the court would be tantamount to contempt of court.
The court also spelt out other consequences, which the respondents would face should they fail to comply with the orders to include being fined or have their assets seized.
The court further added that Ubah and officers of the company could be sent to prison and their assets seized should they fail to obey the orders.