Kinawley woman sues over oil millions

Published: 5 Jul 2012 13:00

A Fermanagh woman involved in company which stuck oil in the Caribbean worth hundreds of millions of dollars has gone to court to get her share of the profit.

Sheila McCaffrey.

Sheila McCaffrey, from Kinawley, was a director of INE (International Natural Energy), which found massive oil reserves off the Caribbean island of Belize in 2006.

The company was backed by scores of small investors from Ireland but has never paid them a dividend.

McCaffrey was a founder of INE but was removed from the board of directors. She has gone to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court seeking an order to force the company to buy her shares.

A former fellow director, Tony Quinn, the yoga guru, health-food shop owner and hypnotherapist, has the most to win or lose from the proceedings. He was given 64,000 shares in the company in 2006 and stands to earn $23 million under an agreement reached with INE last August to buy them back. However, the judge, Justice Edward Bannister, has stopped the deal going ahead until the case brought by McCaffrey is dealt with.

Two of INE's Irish founders, McCaffrey and Susan Morrice, are at loggerheads over control of a company that has earned hundreds of millions of dollars in oil revenue over the past five years.

In her claim, McCaffrey alleges the company is being mismanaged, with money being diverted to the benefit of Morrice and Quinn. She says Quinn's shares were never validly allotted. The two deny her claims and say she was removed because she had become impossible to work with and was unsuited to running the business as it grew.

It was back in the mid-1990s that McCaffrey and Morrice met on the White House lawn at one of Bill Clinton's drives to promote investment in Northern Ireland. They joined forces with Paul Marriott, an English drilling contractor, and secured funding from investors who, like them, had attended Quinn's Educo Mind Power seminars. More than 300 people each invested at least 40,000 euro in the venture, many of them borrowing from friends, family and banks to do so.

For 50 years big oil companies prospected for oil in Belize with no success. Then INE's subsidiary. Belize Natural Energy, a minnow in the sector, came along and struck oil at the first attempt.

"It was unexpected in our business that the first well you drill in a country with 50 years of dry wells would produce a discovery so fast," Marriott said in court this week. Last year he sued the company and reached a settlement.

Most people would put such an oil find down to luck and science. But some of those who attended Quinn's 18,500 euro seminars believe one of the reasons they struck oil arose from the application of his techniques to focus the mind and remove doubts and negative thoughts.

The court has heard evidence about a series of fractious meetings between the directors in 2007 and 2008 at which efforts were made to resolve their growing differences.

McCaffrey sounds to have been the biggest loser, having received nothing for her shareholding. She was removed as a director and her home in Belize was searched by the police on foot of a company complaint. With limited resources, she struggled for a number of years to get her case into court. She described her evidence to court this week as "a snapshot of the living hell" she had endured over the past five years.

Whatever the outcome of the current case, it won't mark the end of the disputes. The case taken by another director, Jean Cornec, over 11.7 million euro he says he is due for his shares is scheduled to be heard in Denver, Colorado, next year.

Meanwhile, the disaffected shareholders are still hoping to have their day in court. Many of them are now under immense financial pressure and desperate for a payout.

Jump to first paragraph.

Get more stories from our Roundup section

20 Apr 2014 09:00 • Editorial Department

‘End of an era’ for Leslie and McCrea family

Tempo Primary’s long serving caretaker - whose family has a long connection with the Fermanagh school - was paid a warm tribute at the start of the school’s Easter Holidays.

Social: Comments0 comments

19 Apr 2014 21:00 • Brian Donaldson

First election nominations made at Townhall

The countdown to the first election for seats on the new Fermanagh and Omagh District Council on May 22 has begun with the first candidates nominating at Enniskillen Townhall this week.

Social: Comments0 comments

19 Apr 2014 17:10

Mallards gain another crucial point in safety battle

Ballinamallard took another step closer to safety as they claimed a share of the spoils at home to Ballymena today.


19 Apr 2014 15:00 • Meadhbh Monahan

Leading anti-fracker believes local protesters are on the right track

Founder of Frack Free Sussex and Britain and Ireland Frack Free, Vanessa Vine visited Enniskillen last Saturday to discuss the local anti-fracking campaign.

Social: Comments0 comments

19 Apr 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department

Road rage car chase for boxing champ who turned away from possible fight

A boxing champion shied away from a fight with a man over twice his age only to become embroiled in a road rage incident.


19 Apr 2014 11:00 • Editorial Department

Milk suppliers assured that Society is debt free

The forty-eight former Fivemiletown milk suppliers have been assured that Fivemiletown and Brookeborough Co-operative and Agricultural Dairy Society (the Society) is debt free and that they will “continue to be paid”.

Social: Comments0 comments

19 Apr 2014 09:00 • Rodney Edwards

Elliott votes against bill on powers for new Super Councils

ULSTER Unionist MLA Tom Elliott has joined his party colleagues in voting against the Local Government Bill, the legislation that sets out the powers of the new Super Councils. Mr. Elliott spoke of his concern around community planning ahead of the amalgamation which will see 26 Councils merge into 11, including the amalgamation of Fermanagh District Council and Omagh District Council


19 Apr 2014 08:30

Police name motorcyclist killed in Fivemiletown crash

Police can confirm that a male motorcyclist has died following a two vehicle road traffic collision on the Belfast Road in Fivemiletown last night, Friday 18 April.


18 Apr 2014 22:00 • Rodney Edwards

Orange audit: 93 per cent believe Catholics ‘suspicious’ of order

A MAJOR survey into the Orange Order in Fermanagh has found that 92.8 per cent of people who took part in the project believe Catholics are “suspicious” of the organisation.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 19:00

'We have a big eight days ahead of us' - Anderson

By 5pm on Saturday April 26 all the decisions will be made in the Danske Bank Premiership and Championship One. The destination of the title will be decided and who is going down or which teams are facing a play off will be known.


18 Apr 2014 17:00 • Rodney Edwards

Enterprise Minister disagrees with keeping Aventas Group all locally owned

ENTERPRISE Minister Arlene Foster says she cannot support the view of local political representatives, including her DUP colleague Maurice Morrow, that the Aventas Group in Derrylin must remain exclusively locally owned.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department

Tweets of the Week - did you make it?

Charlie Lawson @charlie_lawson1 I’m reliably informed that my alter ego and constant companion is to return, so he is. Must contact The Home Secretary to confirm.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department

Foster vows to take school merger to the Assembly

“I am not powerless, I will fight this,” declares Stormont Minister Arlene Foster as she reflects on the fall-out over the proposal by the Western Education and Library Board to amalgamate Portora Royal School with Collegiate Grammar School.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 11:00 • Lily Dane

Those were the days: Miss Derryclavin Selected

This image “Miss Derryclavin” Selected was featured in The Impartial Reporter on April 16, 1964.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 08:30

Depression is an illness, mourners told at Kenny Andrews funeral

MOURNERS at the funeral of Brookeborough man Kenneth Andrews who died unexpectedly last week were told that the 47-year-old had been fighting a private battle with depression.


17 Apr 2014 19:00 • Rodney Edwards

#fermanaghspake This Week is...

‘I’m not half well’

Social: Comments0 comments

17 Apr 2014 18:06 • Rodney Edwards

Would-be Unionist politician admits Catholic Facebook question was 'badly worded'

A would-be politician seeking a seat in the new Fermanagh and Omagh Council for the Ulster Unionist Party has defended himself for a second time following comments he made on Facebook.


17 Apr 2014 17:01

Fermanagh's 'different breed' that sets the Orange Standard

Let me get the amateur sociology out of the way first: ‘Out-group homogeneity’. It describes a bias that any group of people are prone to have.


17 Apr 2014 16:30

Why are you 'punishing a good school'?

The proposed Development Proposal to close both Enniskillen Collegiate School and Portora Royal School and open a new school on a split site, will go before the members of the Western Education and Library Board on May 8 for approval.


17 Apr 2014 15:57

Meeting exposed WELB's 'weak process and weak argument' says Collegiate head

THE Collegiate Grammar School’s consultation meeting on its proposed amalgamation with Portora Royal exposed the Western Education Library Board’s (WELB) “weak process and weak argument”, according to principal, Elizabeth Armstrong.