Debtor billions! How Mike Adenuga avoids debt and taxes
Otunba Mike Adenuga, like other affluent Nigerians, flaunts his wealth despite owing banks, institutions, and enterprises billions of dollars in various currencies.
The businessman, who is the third Nigerian on Forbes’ list of billionaires for 2022, supposedly has a mound of debt that he refuses to pay off despite repeated attempts.
Despite his expanding debt profile, Forbes, the premium lifestyle magazine, believes his net worth increased by about $5 billion in the previous year.
Despite his debts and tax problems, such information is not trustworthy.
His continuous debt has forced several creditors to shut down operations.
For example, his Conoil business owes two international and one local company about $140.5 million.
PremiumTimes reports that Conoil and several of his other firms have failed to pay their obligations despite multiple promises.
Conoil owes $40 million to Depthwize, a local oil service firm.
Conoil’s failure to pay Depthwize, a minor drilling contractor, prompted the firm to lay off staff and suspend services on two of ConOil’s rigs, sources claimed.
Things are alleged to be so bad that some creditors have started or are contemplating starting legal measures to get him to pay up, after exhausting all other possibilities.
Similarly, an American oil and gas corporation, Baker Hughes, was obliged to file a court petition to dissolve one of Adenuga’s firms, Belbop Nigeria Limited, over a $12.09 million debt.
It claims Belbop gave it a contract in 2009 for directional drilling, MWD/LWD services, drilling fluid and drilling bit supply, logging cabin, and surface acquisition system.
That Belbop refused to pay after the business had completed its responsibilities. On the agreement, Baker Hughes claimed $9.4 million.
Judge Babs Kuewumi of the Federal High Court in Lagos froze Belbop’s accounts on April 12, 2016.
The court designated the Federal High Court Chief Registrar as receiver/manager of Belbop until the substantive litigation is decided.
Adenuga is also owing to a Total of $28.5 million since 2009.
Total is seeking to avoid litigation, but Mr. Adenuga’s unwillingness to pay has prompted the business to halt the development of the OML 136 gas field.
Total is ConOil’s technical partner.
Conoil agreed in November 2015 to pay a total of $28.5 million by January 31, 2016.
But sources stated Mike Adenuga’s firm has failed to pay.
Total’s efforts to get the money from him failed.
Some questioned Adenuga’s unwillingness to pay Total the $28.5 million required to start operations on the rich oil field.
OML 136 is one of Nigeria’s biggest gas fields, having a proven resource of 11 trillion cubic feet (TCF).
Experts claim that exploring the oil reserves may have boosted Nigeria’s economy and brought huge profits to Total and Conoil.
Following contact, Total’s representative Charles Ogan stated the issue was an “obvious internal administrative subject.”
Conoil is also locked in a decade-long legal dispute with British oil major Vitol over an alleged $60 million debt.
Conoil obtained a stay of execution from a Nigerian court, preventing Vitol from enforcing the UK court verdict.
Insiders claim Adenuga’s tardiness in exploiting possible revenue sources contributed to ConOil’s financial woes.
Conoil was granted an exploration permit for OPL 257 in 2005, however, the company left the block idle until its permit expired.
It now seeks a two-year extension of its expiring permit to investigate the area.
Conoil’s managing director, Taiwo Olushina, blamed instability, expensive drilling costs, and technical issues for the company’s inability to explore the field before the license expired on January 22, 2016.
Mike Adenuga’s firms have recently encountered tax troubles.
In 2009, the FIRS shut down Conoil and Continental Oil and Gas, both owned by the billionaire, for failing to pay $610 million in taxes.
The FIRS closed the Lagos headquarters of Globacom, Nigeria’s second-biggest mobile phone provider, last month for allegedly failing to submit Value Added Tax worth N24.3 billion.
The Osun State Internal Revenue Service (OIRS) sealed the offices of the telecommunication corporation in the state in February for non-payment of unpaid taxes and other levies on mast/base stations and fibre optic laying.
The state claims many meetings with the company’s representatives were conducted over three years to fix the problem.
His real estate business, Covenant Apartments Complex Limited, borrowed N2.4 billion from Wema Bank, according to AMCON.
After Covenant Apartments defaulted on the financing, AMCON bought it in 2010.