The United Bank for Africa (UBA) has asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to wind-up Sahara Energy Resources Limited over a seven-year-old debt. UBA, which operates in several African countries, claims that Sahara Energy is liable for a N15 billion naira debt owed by KEPCO Energy Resources Limited (KEPCO), which it claims that Sahara Energy had guaranteed. UBA’s lawyer Temilolu Adamolekun filed the petition before Judge Mohammed Liman.
According to UBA, which promotes itself as Africa’s Global Bank, KEPCO recived a loan from the bank for the purpose of acquiring the Egbin Power Plant, operated by Sahara Energy’s local subsidiary Sahara Power, from the Nigerian government in 2013 after it won a bid for a seventy per cent stake in the asset at an agreed price of $407.3 million.
KEPCO subsequently applied for a loan from UBA and Sahara Energy agreed to stand as a corporate guarantor for the loan facility. The bank claims that it provided a loan of $35 million to KEPCO based on the guarantee of Sahara Energy in August 2013.
UBA averred that KEPCO failed to meet its obligations even after the bank restructured the loan twice. The interest on the rescheduled debt is said to have increased the facility to $42,282,430.49 as at December 31, 2018. The also bank stated that Sahara Energy had been notified several times to fulfill its obligation as a guarantor but had not done so, leaving UBA with no option but to seek a winding-up order.
UBA also sought “an order that the company, Sahara Energy Resources Limited, be wound up by the court under the provisions of Companies and Allied Matters Act”.
Judge Liman ordered that the winding up petition should be advertised in the Nigerian government’s official gazette and a national daily newspaper after Adamolekun filed the ex-parte motion.
An inquiry by the Lagos Times at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) revealed that several prominent directors of the Sahara Energy Group including Tonye Cole, Adedeji Odunsi and Temitope Shonubi are directors of KEPCO Energy Resource Nigeria Limited, which is registered in Abuja. The other directors are Taisup So and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).