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ABC Orjiako: Pay Your Debt

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Debt

 

A debt is a debt whether owed directly or indirectly.

Several years back, the mere thought of being called a debtor would send shivers down the spine. Debtors usually hide under their bed or the back of their door to avoid the disgrace of not being able to pay back what they owe.

But not anymore, these days, debtors shamelessly confront their creditor “asking what the big idea is” after splashing such funds on the luxuries of life such as private jets and apartments in the Cayman island.

Ironically, the same principle that applies to meager debt also applies to the whooping amount of monies obtained as loans from banks by businessmen.

Perhaps the biggest loan in contention in Nigeria presently is that which Cardinal Drilling Services owes Diamond Bank which was acquired by Access Bank PLC.

While many may not know the history of the loan which became topical following a court order granted to Access Bank PLC to seal Seplat Petroleum Development Company’s headquarters, those in the financial sector are conversant with the fact that it was a liability inherited by Access Bank when it acquired Diamond Bank.

According to most financial analysts, the loan estimated at $200 million from an initial $135 million was part of the bad loans that sunk Diamond Bank in 2019. The bank, owned by Pascal Dozie’s family was doing magnificently well before it suddenly went down like a pack of badly arranged cards due to bad loans obtained by Cardinal Drilling Services and others businessmen who borrowed massively and failed to service the loans.

While this story of debt by business concerns may not be new, the recent flagrant inability to either service or pay back loans obtain as is the case with Orjiako’s company Cardinal Drilling Services is what is alarming.

In the case of Cardinal Drilling Service’s loan from Diamond Bank, when Access Bank PLC tried to recover its money, they got a response that was more than shocking.

Simply put, Orjiako’s company maintained that Seplat Petroleum Development Company didn’t obtain the loan from Diamond Bank and should as such not be made to pay for it.

On its part, Access Bank Plc maintained that the money was used to acquire four rigs for the benefit of Seplat Petroleum Development Company and it is not out of place for it to ask the company to pay.

Be that as it may, the fact remains that the loan was obtained by one company for the benefit of another with both companies owned by Orjiako. Whichever way the cookie crumbles, Orjiako remains the debtor.

Many have wondered why Orjiako’s company is unwilling to pay back its indebtedness to the bank, is it all in a bid to flex muscles?

There have also been posers of why Orjiako with his business reputation did not seek a ‘sit down’ meeting with the management of the bank to resolve the whole issue by starting a payment plan that would either see him servicing the loan till it is paid out.

Interestingly, the other debtors who killed Diamond Bank were from the southeast, why did they contribute to the demise of the bank which served them? This is the big question begging for an answer.

Interestingly, Cardinal Drilling Services is not the only company owned by Orjiakor that has swum in the murky waters of a bad loan.

Another of Orjiakor’s company that has been in a similar situation is Shebah Exploration & Production Company which obtained a $150million loan facility from a consortium of banks led by AFREXIM.

In a bid to recover the loan, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) applied for an application through its lawyer Mojisola Owoseni of Lexavier Partners in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/945/19.

 

In the application, AMCON asked the court to grant Francis Chuka, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the right to exercise its function as Receiver/Manager of Orjiako’s assets in Nigeria and abroad, including Shebah Exploration & Production Company Limited.

 

Thus, on July 30, 2019, Chuka was appointed by AMCON as Receiver/Manager with the mandate to “take possession of and preserve all its assets and undertakings” by Orjiako.

 

The assets and undertakings included his personal properties at Nos. 10C and 25A Lugard Avenue, Ikoyi, Lagos; an oil vessel, MT Trinity Spirit, used as a floating, Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) facility in Ukpokiti Oil Field belonging to Shebah Exploration & Production Company Limited.

 

To avoid losing his properties, Orjiakor was forced to sell some of his shares in Seplat Petroleum Development Company to begin the payment of the loan to AMCON. Presently, the loan is yet to be liquidated.

It is basic in business principle that a debtor has a responsibility to pay his debt. As such, Orjiako pay your debt.

 

 

 

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