Seplat Terminates Contract with Nigerian Energy Magnate Over Corporate Governance Breaches
The largest publicly listed energy company in Nigeria, Seplat Energy Plc, has terminated its consultancy contract with Nigerian energy magnate Ambrosie Bryant Orjiako. Orjiako co-founded Seplat Energy with Austin Avuru in 2009 through a partnership between Shebah Petroleum Development Company and Platform Petroleum Joint Ventures. He is applauded for transforming Seplat into one of Nigeria’s most prosperous indigenous oil and gas enterprises.
Orjiako’s retirement as the group chairman on the 18th of May, 2022 was reportedly spurred by court actions over a $150-million loan facility taken by Shebah E&P Limited to carry out a drilling campaign in OML 108 in 2012. The court actions were instituted by Zenith Bank Plc, a leading Nigerian bank, against Shebah E&P and eight others.
Following his retirement, Orjiako was obliged to provide defined assistance with certain external stakeholder engagements.
Why did Seplat terminate the contract?
Seplat ended the contract because of multiple material corporate governance breaches. Some of which include making significant commitments on behalf of Seplat alone, and using the company’s letterhead to communicate such commitments without prior approval from the Board.
Its decision to terminate the contract comes after the board of directors authorised a contract suspension last month due to recurring breaches that jeopardised the company’s $3.5 billion assets. The decision, although difficult, was taken to protect the company and its shareholders, directors and officers from potential and increasing liability arising from the conduct of the consultants, Dr Orjiako and Amaze Limited.
In a statement signed by the board chairman, Mr Basil Omiyi, Seplat noted that it has commenced legal action against Dr Orjiako and Amaze Limited at the federal high court in Abuja, to seek legal remedies.
Seplat Energy further reiterated its commitment to high standards of corporate governance across all areas of its business.
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