Dr. Cosmas Maduka
By Davidson Iriekpen
Managing Director, Coscharis Group of Companies, Dr. Cosmas Maduka, has vowed to ensure that he collects back all the money due to him that Managing Director, Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited, Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah, has allegedly fraudulently appropriated through a failed business transaction between the duo.
Maduka, in a statement Sunday from the Coscharis Group, which he owns, detailed his encounter with Ubah, saying he had entered into partnership with Ubah in response to his request for ehe entrepreneur to assist the oil dealer grow his business.
He also denied the allegation Ubah made last week that he and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, who chaired the Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Fuel Subsidy Payments, were plotting to take over Capital Oil.
According to Maduka, the stage for the failed business transaction between him and Ubah was set during the celebration of his (Maduka’s) 50th birthday when the oil marketer, in the company of others, sought him out to assist with his business, explaining that he had been victimised by competitors and the banks.
“In spite of the numerous warnings against having anything to do with him, Maduka felt the urge to assist the young man because he felt no one could be as bad as he (Ubah) was being portrayed and after all Ubah is his kinsman from Nnewi,” the statement said.
The Coscharis Group highlighted some of the warnings its chairman, Maduka, was given against dealing with Ubah to include his failure to remit sales proceeds to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) after selling petroleum products stored in his tank farm; failure to remit sales proceeds to Mrs. Uju Ifejika, who had a through-put-arrangement with Ubah, after he had sold the petroleum product in his care; alleged refusal to settle his indebtedness to several banks; and his exposure to Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), which has taken over his bank debts.
Maduka said because of Ubah’s reputation, no bank was ready to grant him credit and he had sought his assistance to help him access credit for his oil business.
“On the strength of this, Dr. Cosmas Maduka entered into a joint venture business agreement with Capital Oil (Ifeanyi Ubah) for the importation and sale of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
“The basis of the joint venture agreement was that Dr. Cosmas Maduka would provide the funding for the importation while Capital Oil would be responsible for the logistics, for the importation as well as handle the sale of PMS.
“Capital Oil’s role was therefore to provide its Petroleum Import Permits from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) which are required to import PMS into Nigeria.
“Capital Oil would also source the products, open Letters of Credits to the supplier who must deliver the product to Capital Oil storage tank in Nigeria, arrange for the sale of the product in Nigeria, and pay the proceeds and subsidy element into the joint venture account to repay the loan obtained by Dr. Maduka,” the statement added.
Maduka’s greatest mistake was to believe that Ubah was a reformed character despite his track record of allegedly defrauding several persons, as shortly after the business transaction was sealed, he revealed his true character, the group said.
According to the statement, based on the agreement, Capital Oil covenanted that Coscharis Motors would be entitled to immediate possession of the products while the oil company would lease the tanks in which the products would be sold to Coscharis, as part of measures to ensure that Coscharis had proper storage for the products that Capital Oil had pre-sold to it, based on the agreement.
“This agreement provided for an account to be opened into which Capital Oil would domicile proceeds of subsidy collected by way of Sovereign Debt Notes for the products imported, which together with proceeds of the sale of the products would be used to repay the bank’s credit facility,” Coscharis said.
The company explained that given the fact that all the banks approached to finance the deal refused to have anything to do with Capital Oil, Maduka approached Access Bank for a facility to fund the importation of petrol.
The bank, the company added, consented and later raised the facility granted to Coscharis Motors to $164 million to accommodate additional requests by Ubah and Capital Oil for additional importation, leading to the opening of 10 Letters of Credits (L/Cs) that were established and fully negotiated.
“However, shipments were made and products were partially received for six out of the 10 Letters of Credit while products for the remaining four Letters of Credit established for the importation of 130,000 metric tonnes of petrol were not delivered at all,” it explained further.
The statement said even for the six L/Cs for which shipment was made, not all the products were delivered to the tank farm as expected by Capital Oil while there was no delivery of products for the remaining four L/Cs.
It said when the petrol that was expected to be discharged into Capital Oil’s tank farm at Ibafon, Lagos, did not arrive as scheduled and the company could not satisfactorily explain the delay, Maduka knew that Capital Oil in collusion with shippers had diverted the product.
“This belief is strengthened by the fact that under Letters of Credit, the products covered by the Bills of Lading were supposed to have been delivered within three weeks from the date of the Bills of Lading (on or before January, 2012) but till today, the products have not been seen,” the statement said.
“Capital Oil’s diversion of these products in collusion with the shippers has made the repayment of the facility scheduled to come from the sales proceeds impossible.
“Accordingly, the exposure to Access Bank Plc stands at about N21 billion while interest accrues. Also, Capital Oil has refused to release the 56,568,587.11 litres of PMS in the designated tank for this transaction under the management of our warehousing agent in its tank farm for disposal to facilitate the payment of our financial obligation to Access Bank,” Coscharis added.
The perceived fraud, Coscharis explained, compelled Maduka to petition the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), which invited the duo to give statements and was followed by interrogations.
Maduka, the company said, has vowed to collect every farthing owed by Ubah, adding: "Ifeanyi Ubah may have defrauded the Federal Government and other individuals and gone free but given the fact that I earned every kobo through my sweat, I will collect my money to the very last kobo.
“Allowing a fraudster of this magnitude off the hook will send wrong signal to the international community about the sincerity of the government’s prosecution of the anti-corruption campaign. I vow to pursue this matter to the end.”
The company’s chairman observed that the alleged fraud perpetuated by Ubah was similar to the destruction of Banco Noroeste, the Brazilian bank that was defrauded to the tune of $242 million by Mr. Emmanuel Nwude, Mrs. Amaka Anajemba and other accomplices in a space of three years.
“I and my family will fight with everything to ensure that Ubah repays all the money he owes me. God is my witness,” he said.