A firm, Uniterm Nigeria Limited, has asked the Federal High Court in Lagos to wind up an indigenous oil and gas company, Oriental Energy Resources Limited, over alleged $1, 453, 356.76 debt.
The petitioner (Uniterm Nigeria Limited), in the winding up petition filed by its counsel Uchechukwu Obi (SAN), told the court that despite repeated calls and demands, the respondent (Oriental Energy Resources Limited) is unable to liquidate its outstanding debt till date.
The petitioner said over eight weeks had lapsed since it served the Statutory Demand Notice on the respondent on April 13, 2022, but the respondent had failed to pay the said debts and its accruing interest.
“Obtaining services from a struggling Nigerian contractor and for several months failing and refusing to honour final invoices, is repulsive, malicious, frustrating, undermining, and predatory. When gleaned from the prism of the respondent’s serial silence over most of the demand letters, one can easily conclude that these offensive and unacceptable conducts are deliberate and predatory,” the petitioner stated.
The petitioner, therefore, asked the court for an order, “That the respondent be wound up by the court under the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020.
“Alternatively, an order entering judgment for the petitioner against the respondent in the sums of $1, 453, 356.76 being contractual interest as of June 16, 2022, and thereafter at the rate of (LIBOR rate) of one-month interest rate increased five percent and calculated pro rata on a daily basis rate (or its equivalent) until full payment is made, and that the aforesaid amount be paid to the petitioner within seven days from date of judgment, and for such other or further order (s) as the court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.
But the respondent, through its lawyer, Funke Agbor (SAN), asked for an order dismissing or striking out the petition and all pending applications filed by the petitioner for incompetence and gross abuse of the process of the court.
The respondent stated that the company is solvent, viable, and capable of paying its debt, adding that the commencement of these proceedings constituted an inappropriate use of winding-up proceedings.
“Based on the foregoing, this petition is incompetent, an abuse of the process of court, and liable to be dismissed by this court.
“Based on the foregoing, there is no basis for the court to proceed to entertain the petitioner’s applications for advertisement of the petition and interlocutory injunction or any other application filed by the petitioner in these proceedings and the same ought to be dismissed or struck out,” the respondent argued.