By Ralph Izopu
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uche Ogah, has said the renewed calls for his investigation over a business transaction over which he had been investigated by law enforcement agencies and cleared several years ago is nothing but an act of political mischief.
Some lawyers under the aegies of Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates (CPILA) had in a section of the media called for Ogah’s probe over a transaction with one Mrs. Bridget Adeosun.
He stated that he was not surprised that his tradilucers could go to the extent of mixing up a private business transaction he did before he joined politics.
Reacting to the issue, Barr. Monday Ubani, counsel to Dr. Ogah, explained that “the renewed attempt to cast aspersion on his client’s personality over a matter which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Police and the courts have all cleared him of, is clearly the handiwork of blackmailers and political mischief makers”.
According to Barr. Ubani: “We consider this an act of defamation, pure blackmail which ordinarily should not have deserved the attention of our client but for the informed members of the public who may not have known the facts of this case, we have painstakenly to put together in order to put the records straight.
“We are not ignorant that these blackmailers are mere ‘dancers’ whose drummers are in the thick bush, and by the grace of God, they shall be exposed very soon.
“Our client is not totally ignorant of those behind this constant and fruitless mudslinging, and as usual, he promises them fatal failure.”
According to Ubani: “Sometime ago, before our client ever conceived the idea of entering the political terrain, one Mrs. Bridget Adeosun, a Director at Mut-Hass Petroleum Ltd, was introduced to Masters Energy Oil & Gas Ltd, our client’s company, as a struggling lady who has interests in the Oil and Gas Sector but does not possess the necessary capacity and facility to consummate a business transaction her company had with the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) which had at then given her a Permit to import fuel to the country.
“On the 2nd of February, 2011, the said Mrs. Adeosun, requested Masters Energy Ltd through a letter from her Company, that our client’s company should execute an Agreement known as ThroughPut Agreement, through which Masters Energy Ltd will confirm that they will be ready to offer a space in their Depot to warehouse Mrs. Adeosun’s petroleum products, if her company is given allocation to import the product.
“Masters Energy Ltd. acceded to her request, saying that they shall offer the storage facility to store the intended product whenever the permit is granted to her by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
“In addition, Masters Energy Ltd executed the ThroughPut Agreement dated 10th of February, 2011.
“This said ThroughPut Agreement was submitted to DPR by Mrs. Adeosun for issuance of the permit and thereafter, on the 10th of May, 2011, DPR wrote to Masters Energy Ltd. for confirmation of the executed ThroughPut Agreement.
“On the 12th of April, 2011, Mrs. Adeosun returned to Masters Energy Ltd with a Permit to Import 10,000 metric tons of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) issued to Mut-Hass Petroleum by the PPRA.
“Upon the receipt of the permit from PPRA, Mut-Hass Ltd. through Mrs. Adeosun, complained of her inability to fund the transaction (importation) due to lack of funds and experience.
“She therefore offered to transfer to Masters Energy Ltd. the entire interest of her company in the allocation for agreed sum of N26,820,000 calculated at N2.00 per litre, as full and final consideration for the transaction.
“Mrs. Bridget Adeosun deposited rhe cheques in an account she opened at ECO Bank, where she is the sole signatory.
“Further to this memorandum of understanding wherein all the interests in the allocation was passed to Masters Energy Ltd., requisite and ancillary documents such as Account Opening Forms, Company Resolution for Account Opening, were duly executed by officers of Mut-Hass
Petroleum Ltd. to the benefit of Masters Energy Ltd.
“This procedure was necessitated by the fact that the transaction could only be executed through the bank account of Mut-Hass Ltd. in whose name the permit was issued.
“On 4th August, 2011, Masters Energy Oil and Gas Ltd. made payment for the said 10,000 metric tons of PMS through Mut-Hass’ UBA Account opened for the purpose of the transaction, via the establishment of a Letter of Credit (L/C).
“On the 6th of September, 2011, the imported product was delivered into Masters Energy tank farm and was certified by relevant government agencies.
“The Sovereign Debt Note for payment of the cost under-recovery (otherwise called subsidy) was issued on 15th November, 2011, by the federal government to Masters Energy Ltd. in the name of Mut-Hass Petroleum Limited (being the name in which the import permit was issued).
“The value of the Sovereign Debt Note was to be utilized by Masters Energy Ltd. to offset part of the cost of the importation.
“Due to the delay in the payment on the Sovereign Debt Note by the federal government, the transaction incurred some foreign exchange differentials occasioned by Dollar exchange fluctuations as at the time of importation, valued at N51,884,159.95.
“Masters Energy Ltd. applied to the government for the differentials in the foreign exchange transaction.
“Surprisingly, it was discovered that Mrs. Adeosun through Mut-Hass Ltd., had written to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) requesting that the accrued interest and foreign exchange differentials be paid to her company.
“Masters Energy Ltd. initiated action immediately to stop the federal government from paying her company the said amount ofmoney, as the said sum rightly belonged to Masters Energy Oil & Gas Ltd.
When Masters Energy Oil & Gas Ltd.succeeded in obtaining the court order against Mut-Hass Ltd., heaven was let loose.
“Driven by an unprecedented greed and avarice ever exhibited by any human being, Mrs. Adeosun literally got infuriated and wrote petitions upon petitions to all the security agencies, including the Police and the EFCC alleging ‘forgery’ of her signature and that of other directors in all the agreements she signed, including the Board Resolutions, authorizing Masters Energy Oil & Gas Ltd. to run the UBA Account of Mut-Hass Ltd. for the purpose of this particular transaction.
“All the security agencies investigated the said allegations and found no substance in it. However, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) still initiated a criminal charge against Barr. Ogah but when they saw the futility of the charge, and knowing their inability to secure any conviction with such a frivolous charge, they withdrew the charge immediately.”
He maintained that it was this same matter that is being regurgitated, simply to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of his client.
He urged members of the public to disregard the claims by CPILA as chiep blackmail which is orchestrated to score cheap political point.