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Indebtedness : AP, Access Bank trade accusations

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The battle raging between Access Bank Plc and African Petroleum Plc – does not seem to be abating, with both sides trading accusations.

It will be recalled that the management of the AP had, on Monday, described on attempt by the Access Bank to wind up AP on the basis of insolvency, over the subsisting $35.153 million owed Access Bank as ‘ridiculous, adding that it was an attempt to rip the company off to the tune of N440 million in one transaction.

The Managing Director of African Petroleum Plc, Mr. Tunde Falasinnu, had contended that while his company was owing the bank, it was not owing up to the amount claimed by the bank, saying “the bank was requesting for the debt to be paid at a rate different from what was in force, when the loan was procured.”

From all indications, the imbroglio has its root in exchange rate vagaries between the time the loan was procured and when it became due for repayment.

The exchange rate as of the time of procuring the loan in November 30, 2008 was N116.62 to the dollar but the exchange rate had so far gone up with naira devaluation, as of the period of repayment and Access Bank thus requested for the repayment to be made at N127 to the dollar.

In a reaction, on Tuesday, Access Bank, in a letter sent to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) dated June 10, 2009, which was made available to the Nigerian Tribune by asserting that the terms of the agreement entered into by both parties had clearly stipulated that the exchange rate risks “remains the primary obligation of the customer and that there was no obligation on the part of the bank.”


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