BusinessLegal/Judiciary

Judgment to be delivered in a wind-up suit against BRT operators, Primero

April 22, 2022, has been fixed as the date to hand down judgment in a legal offensive seeking to wind-up Primero Transport Service Limited, over alleged unpaid N63, 466, 000 million.

The date was arrived at by a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, presided over by Justice Ambrose Lewis Allagoa after parties through their counsel moved and adopted their processes on Friday.

Specifically, Petrocam Trading Nigeria Limited in a suit marked FHC/L/CP/1702/20, brought before the court by its counsel, Olatokunbo Davis argued that the petition is pursuant to Order 19, Rule 1, of the Company Winding-Up Rules 2001, and under the Court’s inherent jurisdiction.

The petitioner particularly prayed the judge for leave to advertise the Primero’s winding-up petition in the Gazette and Thisday Newspaper or Punch Newspaper or any other widely circulating newspaper.

Petrocam Trading Nigeria Limited stated that its request is sequel to Primero’s failure and continued failure to pay the debt of N63, 466,000 million.

Petrocam in its petition for winding-up Primero Transport Service Limited and Verifying Affidavit in support of the petition deposed to by Financial Manager, Taiwo Abiodun, and filed before the court stated that sometime between January 2019 and January 2020, upon the request of the respondent, the Petitioner made a Supply of automated gas oil, lubricant oil and gear oil worth the sum of N174, 046, million, and that the supply was made on credit on the agreement that the Respondent will pay N10 million as advanced payment before the delivery and balance payment 30 days after the invoice date.

The Financial Manager stated that Petrocam supplied the Automated Gas Oil as agreed. However, contrary to the agreement of the parties, Primero failed to make payment to the Petitioner.

He stated that when Primero Transport Service Limited failed and refused to pay the money as agreed, several letters were written to Primero to liquidate its outstanding indebtedness in the sum of N113, 446, 000 million, and that upon receipt of the letters, the Respondent only paid a paltry sum of N1,866 million, N28, 114 million and N20 million, leaving the sum of N63, 466 million as outstanding.

The Petitioner’s Financial Manager stated however that when it became glaring that the respondent did not want to pay the outstanding of N63, 466 million, the Petitioner, Petrocam Trading Nigeria Limited, instituted a Suit marked FHC/L/CP/1239/20 against the Respondent but the same was discontinued with a promise by the Respondent to pay the total outstanding sum by November 6, 2020, but the Respondent has despite receipt of the said letter failed and or neglected to accede to same.

He maintained that the Respondent, having fully utilized the products and despite several and persistent demands by the Petitioner, the Respondent has wilfully failed, refused and/or neglected to repay the outstanding sums due to the Petitioner.

On the need for leave to advertise the Winding-Up of Primero Transport Service Limited, the Financial Manager posited that the Petitioner as such applies by petition for winding-up of the Respondent’s Company on the ground that it is unable to pay the debt owed after same has become due, and the Petitioner has made a formal demand for the payment of the said debt.

He also hinted that the Respondent has not in any way whatsoever denied its indebtedness to the Petitioner, but it has become insolvent and therefore unable to pay its debt because it is more than 21 days and the company has not made the payment as demanded in the petitioner’s several letters of demand dated May 14, 2020, June 1, 2020, and July 1, 2020, respectively, adding that the amount demanded exceeds N200, 000, 00.

The Financial Manager further maintained that pursuant to Sections 571 (d) and 572 (a) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020, Primero Transport Services Limited has shown its incapacity to pay its debts contrary to Section 571 and 572 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020.

He, therefore, urged the court to declare that Primero Transport Services Limited be wound up under the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act.

However, the BRT operator has asked the court to dismiss the Winding-Up suit against it on the ground that the debt referred to by the Petitioner is currently nonexistent.

Primero in its counter-affidavit deposed to by a legal practitioner, Mejulu Henry suggested that the Petitioner centers on an obligation to pay money pursuant to the supply of Automated Gas Oil, Gear oil and other oil additives between parties.

Mejulu informed the court that he is aware that the Respondent since the commencement of their business relationship with the petitioner had always enjoyed a credit relationship as a result of the volumes/orders requested from the petitioner.

The deponent stated that the respondent is not indebted to the petitioner in the sum of N63, 466 million, just as he added that between January 20 and 22, 2021, the respondent had made further payments of the sum of N64 Million which is far more than the debt claimed by the petitioner.

The deponent, while claiming that the debt referred to by the Petitioner is currently non-existent stated that the respondent is not insolvent and is in a position to pay its debts.

Mejulu also claimed that the Petitioner’s petition was mainly to paralyze his client’s businesses and severely injure its reputation and corporate image.

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