CARACAL Oil & Gas Services Company Sues SunTrust Bank $1.1m for Breach of Contract

Advertisements

An international offshore oilfield support and solutions company which operates in the oil and gas industry with offices in Ghana, Cyprus, Guyana and Mauritius, CARACAL OIL & GAS SERVICES LIMITED, has sued slammed a $1,140,000 suit against SUNTRUST BANK NIGERIA LIMITED over alleged breach of contract.

Joined as co-defendant in the ensuing legal hostility is the Central bank of Nigeria, CBN.

Advertisements

In a statement of claim accompanied by the written statement on oath of the Chief Compliance Officer of the company, Mr. David Ibukun and filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos by a Lagos lawyer, Mrs. Soibi Ovia, the deponent avers thus:

  • Plaintiff CARACAL OIL & GAS SERVICES LIMITED is one of the customers of SunTrust Bank and maintains both naira and domiciliary accounts with the bank which the Plaintiff has fully funded and maintained in good standing over the years up until the 20th day of January 2023 when her account was debited pursuant to the Irrevocable Standing Payment Order, ISPO.
  • On or about the 10th day of January 2023 the company, executed an irrevocable Standing Payment Order ISPO in favour of one of her international lending partners.
  • The Irrevocable Standing Payment Order, ISPO, was executed in respect to its USD account domiciled with the bank
  • According to the terms of the ISPO, the Bank was mandated to credit its International lending partner “Trade Credebts” account domiciled with Barclays Bank Ireland Plc with the balance standing to the credit of the company as at the 25th day of every month or next working day, if same falls on a weekend.
  • As at 20th January 2023, the account was credited with the sum of $256,670.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty-Six Thousand, Six Hundred and Seventy Dollars) with the narration as: “INWARD TELEX TRANSFER: SUPPLY OF VESSEL/CARACAL OILB/ONNPC/FIRST” and subsequently, the account was debited on 25th January 2023 to the tune of $383, 290.12 (Three Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety Dollars, Twelve Cents).
  • The sum of $383, 290.12 (Three Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety Dollars, Twelve Cents) debited from the account, was to trigger the release of the sum of $3,000,000.00 (Three Million United States Dollars) and finance the mobilization to Nigeria of the company’s PSV Helios 289 Vessel situate at Carena Shipyard in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire; as well as a number of the , company’s projects, amongst others; to the knowledge of the bank
  • Subsequently, the bank on the 25th day of January 2023 issued a Telex to the company; supposedly evidencing the alleged transfer of the sum of $383, 290.12(Three Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety Doliars, Twelve Cents) to its Trade Credebt’s account domiciled with Barclays Bank Ireland Plc.
  • Upon receipt of the Telex, the company informed Trade Credebt, her international lending partner of the completion of the transaction; but was thrown into a state of utter confusion when she was informed by Trade Credebt that it never received credit for the sum of $383, 290.12 (Three Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety Dollars, Twelve Cents); allegedly transferred by the bank, or any sum at all.
  • On or about the 30h January 2023.1st, 4th  and 6th February, respectively the Company requested from the bank an explanation as to reason(s) Trade Credebt’s account had not yet been credited with the sum of $383,Three hundred and eight Three Thousand and Two Hundred ninety  Dollars, Twelve Cents) or any sum at all; despite having debited her account  since 25th of January 2023 but no legal justifiable reasons have been proffered by the bank for such negligent, deliberate refusal and fraudulent actions.
  • The Company avers that all demands to the bank to reverse the sum of $383,290.12 (Three Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety Dollars, Twelve Cents) fraudulently transferred from her account were unfruitful and the bank has till date, failed and/or refused to provide any justifiable reason for her failure and neglect to credit the account of Trade Credebt or refund the money into the subject account.
  •  Furthermore, since the Company was convinced that her $383,290.12 (Three Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety Dollars, Twelve Cents)could not have vanished into thin air, the company on the 30th January, 1st and 6th February 2023 respectively made demands to the bank  to engage a tracer to detect the exact location of the $383, 290.12 (Three Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety Dollars, Twelve Cents); but the bank blatantly refused to engage the services of a tracer as requested.
  • Due to the bank’s negligence and breach of the contract and fiduciary between the bank and the Company, the Company has suffered irreparable loss and her business has been adversely affected, particularly the berthing of her PSV Helios 289 Vessel situate at Carena Shipyard in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The bank’s actions have in addition caused the Plaintiff economic and pecuniary loss in the sum of $1, 140,000.00 (One Million, One Hundred and Forty Thousand Dollars) as at 27 March, 2023 and damage to the Company’s reputation and goodwill; especially with her international business partners.

     Mr. Ibukun avers further that on the 8th day of February 2023,the Company issued a demand letter to the bank, requesting for the immediate refund of the sum of $383, 290.12(Three Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety Dollars, Twelve Cents) and the sum of $1,140,000 (One Million, One Hundred and Forty Thousand Dollars) as damages; representing costs which the Plaintiff had incurred as a result of the bank’s negligent, fraudulent and unprofessional conduct but the said demand letter was ignored as the bank failed to respond.

Due to the levity with which the bank treated the Company’s demands, the Company was constrained to engage the services of Duale, Ovia & Alex-Adedipe, whom in furtherance of the Company’s instructions, caused another demand letter to be written to the bank wherein the Central Bank of Nigeria was copied to bring to the notice of the CBN the negligent, fraudulent and unprofessional conduct of the bank.

However, despite having received the said demand letter from the Company’s solicitors, CBN remains complicit and has failed to exercise her regulatory, supervisory and punitive function over the bank by calling the bank to order and or imposing the appropriate sanctions against the bank.

The Company avers that both demands made by her and her Solicitors to the Defendants were ignored and all attempts to recover her $383, 290.12 (Three Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety Dollars, Twelve Cents) at the very least, proved abortive as the bank was unwilling to either refund same or provide the definite location where the money was being held neither was the CBN willing to exercise her powers by law to impose penalties and sanctions against the Bank despite obvious act of gross incompetence, breach of fiduciary and fraud.

The Company avers that subsequently whilst making frantic efforts to secure the release and reversal of her $383, 290.12 (Three Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety Dollars, Twelve Cents), one of the Plaintiff’s clients inadvertently made some payments into her USD account Twenty-Three Thousand, Seven Hundred and Ninety-Three Dollars, Seventy-Six Cents).

Consequently, the company upon discovering this made a demand to the bank to forthwith release the sum of the entire sum of money which $523,793.76(Five Hundred and Twenty-Three Thousand, Seven Hundred and Ninety-Three Dollars, Seventy-Six Cents); but the Bank blatantly refused to accede to the Company’s demand.

As a result of the Defendants’ apparent unwillingness to yield to the Company’s demands for her $383, 290.12 (Three Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety Dollars, Twelve Cents) and $523,793.76 (Five Hundred and Twenty-Three Thousand, Seven Hundred and Ninety-Three Dollars, Seventy-Six Cents), respectively, the Company was constrained to instruct her Solicitors to institute this action before the Court and had to incur costs with respect to her Solicitors’ fees and other attendant costs, in addition to other recurring costs caused by the bank’s negligence.

Whereof the Company claims against the Defendants jointly and severally as follows:

  • A declaration that the failure of the SunTrust Bank to credit the designated account of Trade Credebt Limited, the Company’s lending partner with the sum of $3S3, 290.12 (Three Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety Dollars, Twelve Cents). in line with the Irrevocable Standing Payment Order dated 10th January 2023, despite having debited the Company’s account constitutes a breach of contract between the Company and the bank.
  • A declaration that the detention by the bank of the sum of $523,793.76 (Five Hundred and Twenty-Three Thousand, Seven Hundred and Ninety-Three Dollars, Seventy-Six Cents) standing to the Credit of the Company in her account from 27th January 2023 till 27th March 2023, constitutes a breach of contract between the company and the bank.
  • A declaration that the detention by the bank of the sum of and$523,793.76 standing to the Credit of the Company in her account from 27th January 2023 till 27March 2023, constitutes a breach of fiduciary duty owed to the Company by the bank.
  • An order directing the bank to pay the Company the sum of $1,140,000(One Million, One Hundred and Forty Thousand Dollars) being special and aggravated damages for economic loss, loss of business and reputational damage suffered by the Company as a result of the breach of contract, fiduciary duty and neglect of the bank, respectively.
  • An order compelling the CBN in exercise of its regulatory and supervisory functions over the bank to impose penalties and sanctions on the SunTrust Bank for the unjustified and illegal detention of the Company’s $383,290.12 (Three Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand, Two Hundred and Ninety Dollars, Twelve Cents); without any reasonable cause or lawful justification.
  • The sum of N5,000,000 (Five Million Naira) only in favour of the Company and against the bank, being cost of instituting this action.
  • Pre-Judgement interest on the sum of $1,140,000 (One Million, One Hundred and Forty Thousand Dollars) at the rate of 20% per annum; from the 25th day of January 2023 until Judgement is delivered.
  • Post Judgment interest at the rate of 20% per annum from the date Judgement is delivered until final liquidation.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *