In what could be termed as the resuscitation of a damaged reputation for a failed business transaction is currently playing out.
Just like the crisis that rocked the financial institutions some years back when millions of clients lost millions of their hard-earned monies as a result of unforeseen global business crisis. A similar situation in a smaller scale has happened in this clime involving a reputable businessman, Mr. Chukwuonso Nwobi, Chief Executive Officer, Trade Block Energy Limited and his clients – Bohr Maritime Limited, Hunds Oil Services Limited and Loft Limited owned by Messrs. Onyeka Egwudo and Obinna Egwudo.
The issue according to findings was that Nwobi allegedly conned his clients the sum of N44.864 million that he would supply the companies petrochemical products but he didn’t.
As businessmen also, his clients got him arrested and the matter was taken to court.
In-between, Nwobi has been going through distressing situations in the media ‘smearing’ his name and reputation to which he has come out to say he never defrauded his clients but he was a victim of circumstance. And as a good businessman, he has been up and about doing everything within his powers to refund his clients’ their money. But the brothers have refused insisting that he is a fraudster.
Narrating his experience Nwobi said: “Sometime in August 2017, I was handed a tank farm, Zenon 1, which was formerly owned by TMS Kata, by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). Before the handover, I have enough supply of Automated Gas Oil (AGO), which was sold through some petroleum marketers. It was through one of my marketers that the deal was brokered and the money paid into my Zenith account of my company.
Some litres of petroleum products were initially loaded before the stock ran out and as we were waiting for another oil consignment to arrive, we paid AMCON for the acquired tank farm. I thereafter, rebranded the oil facility handed me to reflect the new owner.
After, I rebranded, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) communicated to my company that Trade Block Energy Limited would not be allowed to load petroleum products into the facility until everything pertaining to licensing and documentation was finalised. As at the time, these issues were coming up, my foreign partners had finished with the documentation for the incoming product but could not deliver because of the complication with the DPR.
To add salt to injury, the full registration of the brand, which I thought would take six weeks, dragged on for eight months. As time went by, I had to meet with owners of the companies that paid money into my company’s account for products and appealed to them to give me more time to resolve the issues causing the delay.
During the meetings, I issued cheques with the hope that before they were presented, the problem with the DPR would have been resolved. But since we couldn’t come to a compromise with the DPR, I reached out to them to hold on but they went ahead to present the cheques. They then lodged a complaint against me at the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (Force CIID) Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos. Upon investigation, the police officers realised that the money was actually channelled into proper use. All correspondences, including Petroleum Depot Licence – DEP0050/2018, DPR Permit, Bulk Purchase Agreement with NNPC dated September 11, 2018, as well as other relevant documents to lend credence to my claims and the genuineness of Trade Block Energy were verified by the police.”
Continuing, Nwobi said: “To be honest with you, since that August till date, Trade Block Energy Limited had not been able to transact any oil business. And the tank farm had also not been loaded with any petrochemical products. I have suffered so much loss but I have handed everything to God. I have made propositions to these brothers to pay them their money and whatever loss they would have incurred, but they have refused. I have also used respected individuals in the society as well as family and friends to appeal to them but they all that is not working.
I take responsibility for everything. It was a business that went bad. The problem ab initio started with my changing the name of the tank farm. My company has started paying the money gradually. This situation is affecting my health and that of my family.
I am using this opportunity to still plead with them and I am hopeful that this issue would be resolved amicably out of court.”
However, the plea of Nwobi has fell on deaf ears as one of the aggrieved businessman, Mr. Onyeka Egwudo, Managing Director of Bohr Maritime Limited insisted that Nwobi is a fraudster and that there are several others who had fallen victim of his antics. He said that the matter was charged to court as a civil case and judgement had been delivered. He addaed that the presentation of dud cheques which is a criminal offence was investigated by the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (Force CIID) Alagbon-Ikoyi, Lagos.