Adenuga restrained from dissipating firm’s assets over alleged $12m debt
A Federal High Court, Lagos has restrained billionaire businessman, Dr. Mike Adenuga from dissipating the assets of one of his companies, Belbop Nigeria Limited, pending the determination of a winding up petition filed against the firm.
The suit was filed against Belbop by by an American international oil and gas services conglomerate, Baker Hughes Group, over alleged failure to pay about $12 million debt.
Baker Hughes had filed the petition asking that Belbop be wound up for inability to pay an indebtedness of $12, 092, 531.66 which arose from series of services rendered to Belbop for the development and operation of an oil block.
Belbop, an indigenous oil company promoted by Adenuga, was said to have duly entered into agreements with Baker Hughes and had equally earned substantial revenues as a result of the services rendered to it by Baker Hughes, but refused to pay for the services despite repeated demands since 2014.
Ruling on a motion for interlocutory injunction, Justice Babs Kuewumi restrained the respondent, its directors, staff, management, employees, officers, agents, privies, servants or any other person or group of persons by whatever name so called under the authority of the respondent from alienating, assigning, charging, dissipating, disposing of, dealing, tampering or interfering with assets and properties of Belbop, including tangible and intangible assets, and movable and immovable assets, as well as liquid assets, stocks, securities and/or monies wherever found, and in any manner whatsoever pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
On April 12, 2016 when the ruling was to be delivered, counsel representing Belbop, Dr. Abiodun Layonu (SAN) had pleaded with the court to shelve the ruling to allow his client put in necessary defence, but Justice Kuewumi held that from the records, the respondent was duly served with all the court processes but failed to avail itself of the opportunity to defend the motion at the appropriate time.
The judge thereafter delivered the ruling and equally granted a request by Baker Hughes to publish the petition in a national newspaper in accordance with the companies winding up rules 2001.
Justice Kuewumi, however, ordered Baker Hughes to sign an undertaking to pay damages should it turn out that the order ought not to have been made.
The court also rejected an order asking that the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court appointed as the Receiver/Manager of Belbop to take charge of the entire business operations and undertakings of the company, and to pay all monies realized therefrom into an interest yielding account, as well as an order freezing all accounts of the respondent.
The Judge held that it would be inappropriate to make such orders at this stage, and thereafter fixed June 1, 2016 for hearing.
According to the petition, Baker Hughes, through its counsel, Mr. Yusuf Asamah Kadiri, said on December 1, 2009, Belbop, by virtue of Contract No. BEL/HH/2009, contracted its services for the provision of Directional Drilling, MWD/LWD Services and supply of drilling fluids and drilling bits, logging cabin and surface acquisition system.
In addition, Kadiri stated in the court papers that his client also executed two addendums to the contract for the provision of directional dsrilling, MWD and LWD services.
He stated that the petitioner duly discharged its obligations under the contract and rendered requisite services for the benefit of the respondent (Belbop), and issued invoices for the services rendered, but that the respondent failed to pay despite repeated demands, a development which necessitated the petition.
Specifically, Belbop is said to be indebted to Baker Hughes Company Limited to the tune of $9, 440, 021.20, and BJ Services Company Limited to the tune of $2, 652, 510.46. Both companies are subsidiaries of Baker Hughes Group.