AKIN KUPONIYI/Court Correspondent
Former Managing Director of one of the foremost indigenous Nigerian oil companies Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, Bawo Etikerentse has filed a petition before a Federal High Court in Lagos, south west Nigeria,urging it to wind up the company.
He claimed the company has been hijacked by two directors of the company to the detriment of other directors.
Ontario Oil and Gas Limited was incorporated on the 27th of February,2006 to carry on the business as, producers,manufacturers,suppliers,and dealers in petrol, kerosene,diesel oil,fuel oil,lubricant oil,paraffin wax,asphalt,carbon black and all petroleum products and to do the same in respect of Gas products,including cooking Gas and liquid natural Gas.
The stakeholders are Walter Wagbatsoma, with 3.5million shares,Bawo Etikerentse 2.5million shares, Andrew Ayomike 2.5million shares and Ugo-Ngadi Adaoha, with 1.5million shares.
In the petition filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer Ama Atuwewe, Etikenrentse alleged that between 2010 and 2012 the company made tremendous profit from its business transactions running into billions of Naira.
According to him, as at 13th of December 2010 when Ugo-Ngadi Adaoha was appointed Executive Director Finance and strategy, and Walter Wagbatsoma was Executve Vice Chairman, he was the managing Director of the company.
Mr Etikeretse averred that he was the Managing Director of the company until he was tactically made to relinquish his position in 2013 due to the oppressive and humiliating actions of Walter Wagbatsoma and Ugo -Ngadi Adaoha.
He claimed the company has not held any board meeting since 2012 and in spite of his request for a board meeting, it has proven impracticable,as the affairs of the company is being operated and shrouded in secrecy by the Adaoha and Wagbatsoma.
The petitioner also stated that while the two Directors continue till date to pay themselves,salaries,renumerations,and other benefits and emoluments from the fund of the company,he has not been paid any amount since May 2013
On 22nd of october,2014, the two Directors purporting to be acting on behalf of the company obtained N900million from First Trustees Nigeria Limited without the knowledge,consent and approval of the authority of the board of Directors as the duo of Walter Wagbatsoma and Ugo-Ngadi Adaoha are running the company as their personal property.
He claimed that the fund of the company was used to incorporate five under companies with employees of Ontario Oil and Gas company as Directors and shareholders without , his knowledge, consent and approval,neither was there any board resolution to this effect. He listed the companies as Othinel Brooks limited RC1009275, Cannan Bulk Terminal RC 842552, Harlin Heights Investment Limited RC 1009241, Corithians Shipping Limited.RC831396 and Black Fire Energy Limited RC 781488
He said the companies incorporated were in conflict with the business of Ontario Oil and Gas company.
Mr Etikerentse therefore wants the court to wind up Ontario Oil and Gas company.
He said if the court fails to do this, ,the other Directors will continue to run it as their personal property while making secret profits from the company and destroying its very essence.
However a counter affidavit by Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi, who claims to be the Managing Director of Ontario Oil and Gas company and filed before the court by the law firm of Jackson,Etti and Edu, denied almost all the averment of Bawo Etikrentse.
Adaoha claimed that the shares allotted to the petitioner was not paid for.
She said that between 2010 and 2012 when the company was in debt and owed several financial institutions as a result of the mismanagement of the company by the petitioner, the petitioner abdicated his Position in July 2012 and abandoned the company. She claimed the abdication coincided with the investigation of the company by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) , in connection with the firm’s participation in the petroleum support fund scheme popularly referred to as the ”Petroleum Subsidy Scheme”
The petitioner failed to make himself available to answer questions concerning transactions sought to be clarified by the EFCC but surreptitiously evaded EFCC and escaped and relocated to Canada without notice to his fellow Directors and shareholders.
Consequently, she said the EFCC then filed criminal charge number ID/115C/2012 against the company and two of its Directors accusing them of Conspiracy to obtain property by false pretence ,the sum of N340,015,198.24 purporting same to be subsidy payable to ONTARIO OIL AND GAS LIMITED by the Federal Government of Nigeria under petroleum subsidy support fund which was in execess of the value of the actual product 12,070,706 litres delivered by Mt. Union Brave to Integrated Oil and Gas limited on your behalf as against 19,681,731 litres you falsely claimed to have discharged.
The criminal charge dated 26th of July,2012 was signed by Mrs O.O. Fatunde Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation.
Adaoha alleged further that it was due to the petitioner’s lack of managerial capabilities in dealing with financial issues, that the other shareholders and Director of the company,including the petitioner, head hunted the current Managing Director Mrs Adaoha Ugo-Ngadi,who was a financial consultant to the company and appointed her sometime in December 2010 to the position of Executive Director Finance and strategy.
Consequently,Adaoha urged the court to dismiss the petition as same was instituted with speculative and unsubstantiated allegations.
The court has adjourned the case till 20th of October,2015 for hearing.