Monday, August 29, 2016 3:53 pm
By Akin Kuponiyi
In a bid to recover a debt of N137. 3 million, arising out of an alleged breach of contract, a private liability company, Stallionaire Nigeria Limited has dragged a petroleum trading company, Acorn Petroleum Plc, before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos south west Nigeria.
Joined as co -defendants in the breach of contract suit marked FHC/L/CS/628/2015 are, a subsidiary of Nigeria National Petroleum Company Pipeline and Products Marketing Company Limited (PPMC), a Daughter Vessel MT Royal Priesthood, a Vessel Master of MT Royal Priesthood, and Owners of MT Royal Priesthood.
Stallionaire in its statement of claim filed before the court by a Lagos-based lawyer, Barrister Chijioke Emeka, stated that on December 29, 2013, it entered into an agreement with Acorn Petroleum company to sell 5, 000 metric tonnes of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), on monthly basis subject to allocation and availability from PPMC, and the cargo was shipped to Nigeria. Adding that the agreement was renewed in 2014, with another addendum to the business collaboration agreement that the Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) allocation will be delivered to it. These caused the PPMC to carry the cargo to Nigerian waters on a mother vessel, and it nominated a daughter vessel for transshipment of the cargo to a storage tank in Apapa.
The plaintiff further stated that by the addendum, Acorn Petroleum company contracted to it five private finance initiatives allocation from PPMC between June and December 2014, and the PFIs were to be paid for in advance. This is by first paying 50% of the total value which amounted to N1,220,000. There is also N488 million, representing the value of one Private Initiative Finance multiplied by five. Later the remaining 50% of the balance would be paid in four equal installments each month.
However, Stallionaire stated further that the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Acorn Petroleum Company appealed to it to help his company to pay for all the five Private Finance Initiatives, which was refused on the ground that it was not in line with the addendum, but after much pressure, it agreed to pay for four of the Private Finance Initiatives in the sum of N2.2 billion, which also includes additional sum of N150 million representing a part payment of of the fifth Private Finance Initiatives.
The plaintiff also stated that it was surprised when it received a letter dated February 4, 2015, from the Acorn Petroleum Company, entitled notification of availability of 5000 MT of Dual Purpose Kerosine and requested for remittance of N269. 9 million and by the said letter, it made a final demand on the petroleum company for payment of its debt to it for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in the sum of N448. 4 million while it also notified it that it has fully paid for November, December 2014, and January 2015 Private Finance Initiatives allocation for Dual Purpose Kerosine contrary to the demand of Acorn’s letter,
Instead of seeing to it that the cargo was programmed for its collection, Acorn wrote a letter dated February 10, 2015, to it which it pressed with the demand of N269.9 million before releasing the Private Finance Initiatives and that while Acorn purportedly relied on the provisions of the addendum on payment of balance of the sum for each Private Finance Initiatives allocation which terminated in December 2014, Acorn failed to fault the amount of credit balance Stallionaire retained with it after deduction of the full value of the disputed Private Finance Initiatives.
The plaintiff stated that it came to its knowledge that Acorn merely wanted to collect additional and excess money to enable it refund to an unnamed third party, whom it has resold the December/January 2015 Private Finance Initiatives allocation to behind its back, and contrary to the terms of the addendum, and payment it had already made even in excess.
The plaintiff also stated that Acorn has applied to PPMC for loading rights over its cargo which it has immediate entitlement to, and and above any other person whatsoever.
Consequently, Stallionaire is seeking the total sum of N137.3 million from Acorn Petroleum Plc, being the outstanding sum owed it in addition to the cost of instituting this legal action.
It is also seeking an order of specific performance of the agreement between it and Acorn Petroleum, to deliver to it the DPK Private Finance Initiatives allocation and loading rights over the cargo of 5000 MT of DPK cargo covered by the PPMC Allocation ref. No. PPMC/MD/106A dated January 30, 2015, upon arrival of the cargo by sea in Nigeria.
An order of perpetual injunction restraining Acorn Petroleum, whether by itself, employees, servants, or proxies from delivering or transferring the loading rights in respect of all that 5000 MT of DPK consignment covered by the PPMC Allocation ref. No. PPMC/MD/106A dated January 30, 2015, to any person whatsoever, apart from the plaintiff.
It also seeks an order of perpetual injunction restraining PPMC, and its agents from loading rights in respect of all that 5000 MT of DPK consignment covered by the PPMC Allocation ref. No. PPMC/MD/106A dated January 30, 2015, to any person whatsoever, apart from the plaintiff. The presiding judge, Abdulaziz Anka has adjourned till 18th of October, 2016.for mention.
The author of this story Akin Kuponiyi can be reached at [email protected]