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Nigerian oil mogul jailed in UK denies court ruling

A Nigerian oil magnate sentenced to 10 months imprisonment in the United Kingdom, Abdulrahman Bashir, has reacted to an earlier report by PREMIUM TIMES.


Mr Bashir, who is the Group Managing Director of Rahamaniyya Oil and Gas, through his lawyer, Dada Awosika, said the two firms involved in the case continued to maintain a “mutual business relationship”.


In February, Justice Butcher of the England and Wales high court ruled that Mr Bashir be imprisoned for 10 months for breaching multiple orders of the court in a pending suit instituted by Sahara Energy Resources ltd, PREMIUM TIMES reported.


Mr Bashir was sentenced for disobeying multiple orders of the court including Justice Robin Knowles’ judgement of August 1, 2019 and Justice Bryan’s order of September 6, 2019.


The court also gave a binding indication that the sentence could be reduced to 6 months if Mr Bashir complies with the relevant order which had previously been breached.


Rahamaniyya was fined £ 500,000 while Adebowale Aderemi, its manager, was fined £ 10,000.


Those orders required Rahamaniyya Oil and Gas Ltd, of which Mr Bashir is the CEO and controller, to comply with requests for the release of 6,400.69MT gas oil to Sahara Energy Resource Ltd or its agent from Rahamaniyya Oil and Gas Ltd, Jetty 6.436181, Ibafon, Kirikiri Waterfront, of Aero Maritime Street, Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria (“the Terminal”).


He breached those orders by failing to allow, or procure Rahamaniyya Oil and Gas Ltd or its servants or agents to allow, the release of the said gas oil from the Terminal,” court documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES read.


In December 2018, Ultimate and Sahara entered into a settlement agreement, in which Ultimate confirmed that the value of Gas Oil that had been delivered was USD 10,760,728.77, and agreed to make a series of monthly payments for the Gas Oil.

Court records showed that some payments were made, in consequence of which some 8,566.469 metric tonnes of Gas Oil was released to Ultimate. Ultimate, however, reneged in implementing the terms of the settlement agreement in full by making all the payments due.


After various warnings, on May 10, 2019, Sahara terminated the settlement agreement, notifying Ultimate that its agent, Asharami Synergy Plc, would take delivery of part of the remaining gas oil from the terminal.


Thereafter, various attempts made by Sahara to obtain delivery of the gas oil, including issuing an order on 12 July 2019 for the entirety of the 6,400.69 MT of the gas oil which remained at the terminal failed.

The release order was not complied with and this birthed the lawsuit.


It should be noted that Mr Bashir’s prayer for the criminal conviction to be set aside in June was unsuccessful. His excuses were thrashed by the UK court.


Meanwhile, this paper cannot say if he will submit himself to the UK authorities to serve the jail term.


In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday, Mr Bashir said both firms maintained a “mutual business relationship”.


“I’m committed to the service agreement between Rahamaniyya and Sahara Energy,” he said through Mr Awosika, his lawyer.


He also explained that as part of the agreement, Sahara would relinquish claim over cargo return while Rahamaniyya would withdraw proceedings against Sahara in Nigerian court.


He stated that on June 5, 2020 a revised payment agreement was concluded by all parties and is expected to be completed latest by Feb 2021.


Mr Awosika added that the report about the London court ruling came to the two businessmen as a surprise and informed why both of them met at Sahara Energy office in Abuja to prove that their relationship was intact.


“In the above mentioned case, we wish to clarify that such claims are false, harmful and misleading, as both firms met today at Sahara Energy Corporate office in Abuja to strengthen their mutual business relationships as attached photographs,” Mr Awosika said in the statement.

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