Sapele Power accuses Seistech Energy of trespass, petitions IGP
The Sapele Power Plc, SPP, owners and operator of the 1,200 megawatts Sapele power plant and its associated facilities, has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, IGP, alleging trespass by Seistech Energy Limited on its facilities and the complicity of the Police in the matter.
In the petition dated December 4, 2018, Sapele Power stated that it had in September 2016 entered into an agreement with Seistech Energy for the lease of one of its (Sapele Power’s) tanks for storage of crude oil, adding that Seistech had since failed to meet the terms of the agreement and resorted to intimidation, attempt to forcibly takeover its facilities and threat to life, among others.
The company called on the IGP to compel Seistech to settle its long overdue rent, peacefully evacuate its product from the storage tank and vacate its premises.
The petition to the IGP read in parts: “Sometime in 2016, Seistech Energy Limited (Seistech), an oil and gas company, approached us for the lease of one of our storage tanks in our facility for storage of crude oil produced by Mid-Western Oil & Gas Company Limited, A storage lease agreement dated September 6, 2016 was wilfully negotiated and executed by both parties without cause for concern.
“Few months into the transaction, Seistech became bankrupt, and unable to meet its financial obligations under the contract, Seistech then introduced Mid-Western to assume its financial responsibility and Mid-Western effected tank rental payments on behalf of Seistech. Subsequently, Seistech had a fall-out with Mid-Western and payment for the tank rental was suspended.
“Rather than look for creative means of liquidating its indebtedness, Seistech chose to cunningly cook up lies and misinform our business partners, regulatory authorities and unsuspecting third parties that the rented tank did not belong to SPP, rather, belonged to Seistech.
“As a result of this development, we terminated the tank rental contract with Seistech and asked them to pay up outstanding rental debt, evacuate the products from the storage tank in question and vacate our premises immediately.
“Instead of complying, Seistech surreptitiously and continuously sought ways to defraud us by evacuating product in storage without settling its indebtedness (presently in excess of N600,000,000 (Six Hundred Million Naira). So far, its threats and activities have impeded our activities and smooth operations of the power plant”.
Sapele Power Plc maintained that to undermine security and control of the its power plant, within which the storage tank is located, Seistech, with the connivance of the Police, deployed mobile policemen from Mopol 33 into the plant, leading to a faceoff with SPP’s mobile policemen from Mopol 44 with threat of gunfire exchange.
According to SPP, Seistech again orchestrated replacement of mobile policemen from Mopol 33 and 44 with mobile policemen from Mopol 51 who report to Seistech, and that with the assistance of the men from Mopol 51, Seistech has laid siege on SPP, bringing all manner of third parties to perfect arrangements for evacuating the tank without settling its rental debt.
It said its several petitions to the police to check the activities of Seistech have not yielded any result.
“Mr. Akpovi Oyo of Seistech has severally boasted in the plant that the IGP is the owner of Seistech, thus with the support of the police, they will evacuate the tank by any means without settling their debt,” the company said.
It also alleged that Mr. Ben Odoko, Managing Director of Seistech has severally claimed that “he has the backing of the IGP and he has mobile policemen in place to takeover the facility and evacuate their tank without paying”.
Sapele Power asserted that Seistech, not relenting in its plan to defraud SPP, instituted a civil suit against SPP at the federal High Court Lagos, challenging SPP’s title to its tank farm and jetty.
It added that rather than wait for the outcome of the matter, Seistech and Midwestern sought clearance from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to berth a vessel at the jetty to enable them forcibly evacuate the tank cargo. The request was rejected by NPA.
It noted that out of desperation, Seistech got the State Police headquarters in Asaba to file trumped up charges against the Administration Manager of SPP, claiming that he vandalised oil installations, deliberately concealing the fact that the pipeline in question is property of SPP located within SPP’s premises.
The company also alleged that “with the support of the police, Seistech now claims to be the owner of the tank farm and jetty, intimidates and threatens staff of SPP and trespasses SPP’s property”.
Alleging threat to life, Sapele Power stated in the petition to the IGP that Mr. Odoko, the Managing Director of Seistech, had on November 7 made a direct threat to the life of Tony Onoh, the chairman of Sapele Power, who he threatened to ‘finish” together with the people working in the plant.