Report reaching www.popularnews.com.ng reveals that the Federal Government cannot account for most of its properties situated in the United Kingdom and that the use to which some of these properties have been made in the past did not serve the purpose for which they were meant.
Chief Godwin Obla, SAN, made this known in a report his Chambers OBLA & CO, sent to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and which was equally copied Ambassador George Adesola Oguntade, the High Commissioner of Nigeria to the United Kingdom, who called the attention of the federal Government to the great risk this nonchalant attitude may pose to the country.
The Senior Advocate, acting on behalf of his client who had dragged the federal government to the London Court of International Arbitration, LCIA, after an earlier arbitration to make the federal government compensate EURAFRIC Power limited over an alleged breach of contract, failed.
According to the report, EURAFRIC power Ltd, entered into a Share sale Agreement, SSA, with the Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, and the Federal Ministry of Finance, both acting on behalf of the federal government on the 21st of February 2013 for the purchase of Sapele power Plc (owners of Sapele Power Station) at a purchase price of $201 million.
The report stated further that; According to Schedule 9 of the SSA, which includes list of material properties and core assets of the company which both clearly list ‘site land’ as one of its properties.Chief Obla in his report stated that after the completion of all documentations and shortly after the handover was done, the FGN acting in concert with the Niger delta Power Holding Company, NDPHC, began arrangements to expropriate its client’s assets by severing a substantial portion EURAFRIC premises in favour of one Ogorode power generation Company.
The SAN maintained that, the failure of FGN and the BPE to honour the terms of the SSA after several meetings and representations, his client was constrained to invoke the Clause 15 of the SSA by commencing an arbitration against the Nigerian government in the London Court of International Arbitration, LCIA, which later awarded the following sums EURAFRIC.US$ 2,500,000 (Two million, five hundred thousand US Dollars) as legal costs; 215,930.68 (Two hundred and fifteen thousand, nine hundred and thirty pounds, Sixty-eight pence) as advanced paid on costs; N57, 959,069.2 (Fifty seven million, nine hundred and fifty nine thousand, sixty nine naira, two kobo; 10,018.5 (Ten thousand, eight Pounds and fifty Pence) and US$ 11,158.33 (Eleven thousand, one hundred and fifty pounds and thirty-three Cents) as disbursements.
Sequel to this judgment and in seeking recognition of the award, a foreign counsel was mandated by EURAFRIC to locate properties of FGN in the UK, which in partnership with a third-party, provided a summary of findings/report identifying at least thirty-three (33) FGN properties across the UK which are being put to various uses.
Obla in his report hinted that;
“Having extensively reviewed the report submitted by the foreign counsel to its client, it was of the view that the use to which some of the properties have been put suggest that the FGN may not be aware of the existence of the properties;
“it is doubtful that the FGN would have sanctioned the various non-diplomatic activities carried on within their premises which could potentially serve as a source of embarrassment to the government,” the report stated.
The SAN posited that the FGN should avoid the embarrassing situation caused by the P&ID case, and that it will not augur well for potentially hostile interests to gain access to actionable information on FGN’s assets in the UK.
The award, which has now been registered without objection, in the High Court of Justice of England is now to all intents and purpose a Judgment of the High Court of England.