Monday, July 16, 2018 04.20PM / Zayyanu Umar Sanda, Financial Consultant
In a ruling delivered on July 6th 2018, the LCIA issued an award against Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) BVI (who through their holding company Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) Nigeria Ltd own 55.96 per cent equity in Oando PLC) and Whitmore Asset Management Ltd (owned by Wale Tinubu and Mofe Boyo) to jointly pay a total sum of US$680 million to Ansbury Investments Limited (owned by Mr. Gabriele Volpi).
The above judgement arose out of a dispute as to whether there was a legally binding agreement for Ansbury to transfer 20 per cent share of its equity in the venture to Whitmore, such that OODP BVI equity would change to 60 per cent for Whitmore and 40 per cent for Ansbury and also whether the parties made a legally binding agreement to convert an outstanding loan of $150 million (plus interest) into shares in Oando E&P Holdings Limited. The court however ruled that the draft amended loan agreement as well as the draft “Put and Call Option Agreements” never became effective.
It will be recalled that in May, 2017, the Nigeria Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had received 2 petitions against Oando Plc from 2 shareholders namely Alhaji Dahiru Mangal and Ansbury Investments Limited (owned by Mr. Gabriele Volpi) alleging amongst other things financial mismanagement, related party transactions, insider trading, huge indebtedness and falsification of financial statements.
The SEC set up a technical team to review the petitions and its report raised the issue of gross breaches of the provisions of the Investments and Securities (ISA) Act against the company. The SEC engaged the services of 5 independent professional parties to immediately commence a forensic audit on the activities of Oando Plc.
Finally the Minister of Finance at a public hearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markets on the 30th of January 2018, stated that the independent parties had since commenced the forensic audit and their findings would soon be submitted and the said findings would be released to the public. However, it has now been almost 6 months and the report is still yet to be submitted and released.
Lawyers representing Wale Tinubu and Mofe Boyo the Group Chief Executive and Deputy Group Chief Executive of Oando PLC and co-owners of Whitmore Asset Management Limited, have come out to say that contrary to a statement issued by the Legal Counsel to Ansbury Investment, Mr. Andrea Moja, the amounts owed to Ansbury Investments Inc, owned by Mr. Gabriele Volpi, is in fact $80m owed by Whitmore Asset Management Limited, while the balance $600m is owed by Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) BVI.
Ocean and Oil Development Partners (OODP) BVI Ltd, is owned by all three parties Wale Tinubu, Mofe Boyo and Gabriele Volpi, hence the judgement by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) implies that Volpi as part owner of OODP BVI owes himself by virtue of his ownership in the company.
This was made in a ruling on July 6, 2018 by the LCIA. OODP British Virgin Islands owns 99.99% of OODP Nigeria which in turn owns 55.96% of Oando PLC.
The lawyers choose to speak out following concerns that Volpi’s press release implied that their client, Whitmore Limited, had a total indebtedness of $680 million.