No doubt, Dr. Ambrose Bryant Chukwueloka Orjiako, Chairman ofSeplat Petroleum Development Company, is wealthy.
He knows the ABC of making money. But tongues wagged over his status recently when news broke that his company, Shebah Exploration and Production (E&P) Limited, was enmeshed in trouble over some unpaid loans it incurred seven years ago.
No doubt, it was the most difficult period for the billionaire as it almost left a blot on his reputation. However, Society Watch gathered that the attacks on his person have ceased, and he has finally shamed his traducers, following a meeting between Orjiako, who stood guarantor for the loan, and the representatives of a consortium that includes AFREXIM Bank, Access Bank and Polaris Bank, representatives of AMCON, and the receiver/manager.
At the meeting that held in the AMCON boardroom, Orjiako, who had previously paid the sum of $68 million from his personal money to the creditors, disclosed his plans to make more commitment as regards the payment of the loan.
He was said to have had, in the pipeline, plans to pay some money to the creditors prior to AMCON’s intervention.
It was also gathered that the respective parties were pleased with the outcome of the meeting and are looking forward to faithful implementation of agreements reached.
Consequently, in line with the outcome of the meeting, Orjiako will be presenting a comprehensive repayment plan for all outstanding loans which are due to the syndicate. The agreed first tranche of payment was expected to have been made last Wednesday.
It will be recalled that in 2012 Shebah E and P obtained a $150million loan facility from a consortium of banks (AFREXIM/Diamond- now Access/Skye- now Polaris) led by AFREXIM.
The loan facility was meant for work over and drilling campaign at the Ukpokiti field (OML 108) operated by Shebah E&P.
But the loan was not paid as agreed and a Federal High Court in Lagos certified a judgment delivered by the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division and upheld by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, directing Orjiako, his Shebah Exploration & Production Company Ltd, and Allenne Ltd to pay African Export-Import Bank, Diamond Bank Plc and Skye Bank Plc a sum of $144.2 million being the outstanding and accrued interest of a facility granted to him.
But in a bid to unburden himself of the fiscal baggage, the billionaire decided to trade off some of his lucrative assets which include part of his Seplat shares.
Orjiako’s company, Shebah Exploration Production Company co-founded Seplat with Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs’ Platform Petroleum Limited in 2009. Since inception, Orjiako has remained its chairman spearheading new business development and providing leadership on strategy and stakeholder relationships.
Orjiako, as chairman of Seplat, led the company to make history as the first indigenous Nigerian company to make the London Stock Exchange list.