Intels threatens to sue OGFZA over false, malicious allegations
The Management of Nigeria’s oil and gas logistics giant and port concessionaire, Intels Nigeria Limited (INL) has threatened legal action against the Managing Director of the Oil and Gas Export Free Zone Authority (OGFZA), Umana Okon Umana, for levelling “false and malicious allegations” against the company and its management which are injurious to the business interest as well as reputation of INL.
The company said it is compiling the losses being suffered by the organization due to Umana’s actions both in his official and private capacity.
“We have no doubt that as these are deliberate actions, you are well aware of the consequences as these are clearly crude, irresponsible and off-limits. At the appropriate time, we will initiate necessary legal measures to ventilate this grievance,” INL said.
Intels listed some issues of contention between INL and OGFZA, which he said Umana capitalised on to disparage the reputation of the company.
The issues, according to the company, include the refusal of OGFZA to renew the 2017 Operating License for Intels Nigeria Limited; the imposition of land charges by OGFZA; nullification of INL’s Industry Wide Standard Tariff (IWST) and other port related charges by OGFZA.
INL also frowned at Umana’s “penchant for conveying messages to government agencies and clients injurious to INL business interest and reputation; non-payment for INTELS’ premises occupied by OGFZA at Onne and Heliconia Park Estate.
INL said it had engaged OGFZA in discussions with a view to resolving the matters amicably, in line with its conviction that a harmonious working relationship will be of mutual benefit to the two organizations and will be in the overall interest of both parties.
“However, it has now become imperative to formally address the various issues on both the law and facts with the hope that OGFZA will be better guided to retrace its ill-advised actions,” the company said.
“OGFZA has refused to release INL licence for 2017 on the ground that INL has to pay all charges and fees demanded by the OGFZA notwithstanding that INL has paid in full the renewal fee for the licence.”
“In the circumstance, we demand that OGFZA should forthwith issue INL licence for 2017.”
According to the company, OGFZA’s position is misconceived and ill-advised.
Intels further stated that OGFZA “seems to be suffering from a confused interpretation of what could be described as free zone related activities as against other port or NPA related activities”.
“We are aware that there are few cases of overlap, but those are easily traceable to transactions involving free zone cargoes and in those instances the role of the OGFZA is clearly defined along with aspects of the transaction for which it is entitled to charge fees. Still, such fees do not extend to the rates covered by NPA related activities,” it stated.
INL went further to demand for the payment of debts owed it by OGFZA. These include OGFZA’s indebtedness in the sum of $27,548.85 and N24,912,510.42 for the various services provided by Intels to OGFZA as well as the sum of $1,719,246.28 for use of INL’s facilities by OGFZA at various locations including Onne, Heliconia Park Estate, Aba Road Estate both in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Warri, Delta State.