Justice Sule Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos has granted leave to Suntrust Oil Company Nigeria Limited to serve writ of summons and other processes in a suit filed against San Leon Energy Plc and others on the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, at the NNPC Towers in Abuja.
The judge, after listening to the ex-parte application filed by the law firm of Odittah and argued by Johnson Agwu on behalf Suntrust Oil Company, also granted it leave to serve the processes on San Leon Energy Plc at its registered office at First Floor, Wilton Park House, Wilton Place, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.
He further ordered that the processes be served on other defendants in the suit-Midwestern Lean Petroleum Limited at 5th, Barkly Wharf, Le Cauden Waterfront, Port Louis, Mauritius; Mart Resources Inc at Suit 310, 1167 Kensington Crescent NW Calgary, Alberta T2N 1X7, Canada; Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) at Plot 420 Tigris Crescent, Off Aguyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja, and Midwestern Oil and Gas Company Limited and Martwestern Energy Limited.
The judge directed that all the court processes relating the suit must be served and effected by way of airmail courier service.
He consequently adjourned the case to September 28, 2018, for report of service.
In suit number FHC/L/CP/402/2018, Suntrust Oil Company Nigeria Limited had recently filed a winding up petition against San Leon Energy Plc, a limited liability company incorporated in the Republic of Ireland for failure to pay Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) loan.
Suntrust Oil, in the petition, alleged that the Irish-based firm was indebted to it to the tune of $47,689,123 as of March 14, 2018.
According to the oil firm, the amount was pursuant to an irrevocable and unconditional payment undertaking issued by San Leon Energy to the petitioner in which San Leon irrevocably and unconditionally undertook to pay the sum of $53,839,123 to the petitioner on or before November 30, 2016, out of which the debt remains due.
The petitioner added that the debt excludes further interest, which has accrued since September 20, 2016, to which San Leon remains indebted.
The particulars of the debt as submitted to the court by Suntrust Oil showed that in June 2016, Suntrust Oil sold shares to Midwestern Leon Petroleum Limited in return for the payment of the sum of $53,839,123.
The court documents showed Suntrust Oil had acquired the sale shares with the proceeds of a loan from Guaranty Trust Bank, which amounted to $53,839,123.
Suntrust Oil further told the court that in or about August 2016, San Leon Energy took over the sale shares from its affiliate Midwestern Leon in return for payment of GTBank loan to Suntrust.
According to the petitioner, San Leon Energy had informed it that it (respondent) would pay the GTBank loan from the proceeds of sale of its shares, which at that time were the subject of an application for admission to the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market.
In an irrevocable payment guarantee dated September 20, 2016, San Leon was quoted by Suntrust as stating that “San Leon Energy hereby issue this irrevocably and unconditionally guarantee to Suntrust, that San Leon shall pay sums due under the GTBank loan and its loan interest. San Leon hereby confirms that the GTBank loan and its loan interest shall be fully paid and discharged on or before November 30, 2016.”
SunTrust, however, added that San Leon Energy has made only three small payments and defaulted on the terms of the guarantee.
“The respondent has made three small payments in respect of principal and interest pursuant to its irrevocable payment guarantee as follows: December 21, 2016, – $1.35 million; March 8, 2017 – $4 million and $800,000. Notwithstanding the three payments referred to in the preceding paragraph, the respondent has failed or refused to pay and discharge the debt. Your petitioner reasonably believes that the respondent is insolvent and unable to pay its debts,” Suntrust Oil in the petition said.
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