These are not the best of times for Nigerian billionaire and Globacom Limited founder, Mike Adenuga, as he is burdened by a multibillion-naira debt
Adenuga’s telecom giant, Globacom, has refused to pay about N200 billion in spectrum license renewal fees, annual operating levies, and numbering plan fees of his company to the Nigerian government.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta has issued a warning letter to the company threatening to suspend all regulatory services to Globacom over its refusal to pay its debt.
Adenuga’s chronic indebtedness is not news as Conpurex, a wholly-owned subsidiary of his oil and gas conglomerate, ConOil was being pursued by creditors for a combined debt of about $7 million by a foreign company and a local company.
In 2016, ConOil was pursued by creditors for a debt of over $140.5 million owed to two foreign companies and one local company.
Depthwize, a drilling contractor based in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, said it was owed more than US$6,248,441.27 ($6.2 million) by Conpurex, making it unable to pay its US partner Megadrill.
After it exceeded 365 days, Megadrill hired New Orleans law firm, Jones Walker, to recover the funds from ConOil.
Zukus Industries Limited, an oil and gas services contractor, had written to ConOil three times in 2021 over outstanding invoices due from 2017 and 2018 totalling N317,750,268.09 (about $700, 000).
Its first letter of March 3, 2021, signed by Uzor and addressed to the Managing Director, Con Oil Producing Limited, was titled: ‘Demand For Payment of Outstanding Invoices.’
It read, “Our letter dated 13th November with reference no: ZIL/WAR/093; 5th August 2019 with reference no: ZIL/WAR/093/19; mail of 30th May 2019; mail of 15th October 2019, letter dated 5th February 2020 with reference no: ZIL/WAR/1033/20 and several phone calls refers (Copies of letters attached as Appendices II-VI).
“We write to request for payment of our outstanding invoices long overdue for payment from 13/12/2017 to 08/12/2018, totalling Three Hundred and Seventeen Million Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand, Two Hundred and Sixty-Eight Naira Nine Kobo (N317,750,268.09) only.
“When needed without failure, we have offered to your company; community settlements were promptly handled for speedy execution of jobs. The delay in prompt payment of these bills has had a tremendous effect on our operations. We are going through intense periods owing to our inability to meet up with creditors’ indebtedness and bank loan repayment.”
Zukus Industries Limited’s second letter to ConOil in 2021 also stressed the need for the latter to pay its debt, adding that the outstanding covers the work done by Zukus Industries Limited for ConOil Producing Limited between 2017 and 2018, as far back as four years ago.
In September 2021, Nigeria’s tax authority FIRS sealed off the offices of ConOil at the Mike Adenuga Towers in Lagos over non-payment of taxes.
The government’s Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had also reportedly placed a garnishee order on ConOil’s bank accounts to the tune of US$30 million dollars.