Intels Threaten to Sue OGFZA Over False Allegations on Unlawful Operations
Nigeria’s oil and gas logistics giant and port concessionaire, Intels Nigeria Limited, INL, has threatened legal action against Managing Director of 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 its business interest and reputation.
In a seven-page letter to OGFZA boss, the company said it was compiling the losses being suffered by the organisation 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.
The Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA) had ordered a comprehensive compliance audit of Intels Nigeria Limited’s operations in the last 10 years. The audit is over the company’s alleged serial violation of the laws and regulations governing operations in the free zone. Intels was accused of failing to submit its records, warehouses and equipment imported under the zero duty regime of the free zone for inspection in compliance with the OGFZA Act.
INTELS, In the letter entitled “Re: Various Matters in Contention between Oil & Gas Free Zone Authority (OGFZA) and Intels Nigeria Ltd (INL)” and dated October 26, 2017, 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 him, 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.
Meanwhile, in a reaction to Intels threat to go court, the Public Relations Officer of the authority, Mr Iboro Ortong, told Vanguard that as the regulatory agency in charge of the Oil and Gas Free Zone, activities of operators were regulated, adding that and Intels was no exception. He said: “We queried Intels for going against certain rules of the zone and the next thing is they are threatening legal action for query issued them.”