NJ Ayuk JD, MBACEO, Centurion
Zion AdeoyeManaging Director
Strayson VermeulenChief Operating Officer
Santiago Olo LimaDirector, Equatorial Guinea
Oneyka Cindy OjogboDirector
Genevive OcanseyDirector, Ghana
Manuel OlivieraManaging Partner, Equatorial Guinea
Julio MakoubaDirector Congo – Brazzaville
Grace YellaTax Director
Leon van der MerweDirector South Africa
Carl MbengDirector Central Africa
NJ Ayuk JD, MBA
A leading energy lawyer and a strong advocate for African entrepreneurs, NJ Ayuk is recognized as one of the foremost figures in African business today. A Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum, one of Forbes’ Top 10 Most Influential Men in Africa in 2015, and a well-known dealmaker in the petroleum and power sectors, NJ is dedicating his career to helping entrepreneurs find success and to building the careers of young African lawyers.
As founder and CEO of Centurion Law Group, NJ strives through his work to ensure that business, and especially oil and gas, impacts African societies in a positive way and drives local content development. He is the current chairman of the African Energy Chamber and author of ‘Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity’.
NJ graduated from the University of Maryland College Park and earned a Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law and an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology.
Zion is Managing Director at Centurion Law Group and is responsible for Legal Affairs in Project Finance, Infrastructure, Real Estate, Taxation and Energy law. He continues to advise a cross-section of clients across Africa on big ticket energy deals, especially in South Sudan, Uganda, Nigeria, Zambia, Equatorial Guinea, Congo, Ghana, Gabon and Senegal.
Before joining Centurion, Zion was Lead Transaction Counsel/Group Legal Counsel to the Transnational Energy Group, presiding over critical Oil & Gas and Power projects in Nigeria. He also had pivotal spells at the Tax Division of KPMG Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and the Lagos based premium legal firms of Olaniwun Ajayi LP and Templars where he advised several multi-nationals on a host of Energy and Infrastructure projects. Also, at the Abuja based firm of Terra Cotta Legal, he advised key institutions of government and a host of multinationals on Energy and Taxation matters.
He was a strategic adviser during the various efforts at amending the Nigerian Petroleum Act and related legislations, including acting at one time as secretary to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) Fiscal and Financial Management Syndicate Session commissioned by the Nigerian Federal House of Representatives and advised the Board of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) on the fiscal aspects of the PIB.
Zion continues to advise on some of the most strategic deals across Africa, especially in the frontier Energy markets, and was recently awarded an ‘40 under 40 Rising Stars’ award at the Nigerian ESQ Legal Awards, for shaping the future of the legal profession in Nigeria and on the continent. He is currently completing his MBA in International Oil and Gas Management at the University of Dundee, Scotland.
- LL.B. – University of Ibadan
- B.L – Nigerian Law School, Lagos
- LL.M. — Columbia Law School
- Nigerian Bar Association
- Association of Independent Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN)
Chief Operating Officer
Strayson is the Chief Operating Officer of Centurion Law Group. In addition to her specialization in International Business, Strayson has significant experience in Finance and Accounting, Assets Evaluation, Financial Analysis, Law Practice Development, Project Financing and Telecommunications. She garnered valuable experience working extensively in finance, accounting, audit, establish policies, compliance, business strategy, negotiation, investment, business management, financial planning and modelling, management of assets, forecasting and overseeing daily operations as an executive.
Prior to joining Centurion, she worked in a plethora of roles, including Group Accountant, Senior Accountant, Property Manager, and Operations Manager at Vodacom Business, LifeCo UnLtd SA Group, Advanced Telecoms International, Mobax South Africa and Group.
Strayson completed her Advanced Management Programme & Finance and Accounting degree at the University of Witwatersrand and obtained the Financial Evaluation Analyst certification from the Corporate Finance Institute.
- B.Sc. Business Management – University of Pretoria
- MBA – Edinburgh Business School
Director, Equatorial Guinea
Santiago Olo Lima
With a specialization in international business, Santiago Olo Lima is the Managing Director of the firms’ Malabo office. He focuses on Government Relations and Special Projects at Centurion Law Group.
His responsibilities include working closely with the firm’s management to develop, refine and execute Centurion’s vision and development strategies. His knowledge of Equatorial Guinea’s business environment has earned him the reputation of being one of the best advisors and consultants for foreign investors entering the country.
His duties also include the implementation and maintenance of programs aimed at developing new streams of revenue growth at the firm.
- American Intercontinental University in London, UK – Bachelor in International Business
- University of California, Berkeley – International Diploma in Project Management and Entrepreneurship
Oneyka Cindy Ojogbo
Oneyka is a Director and Attorney at Centurion with significant finance and projects experience in Africa, Europe and North America. She leads the Group’s Sports, Media and Entertainment Practice and routinely advises governments, sponsors, lenders, multinational and local companies on a wide range of transactions, including cross-border projects that cover infrastructure, energy, investments, aviation, sports and entertainment.
She has gained significant experience working with and leading multicultural and multilingual teams in structuring and executing epoch-making deals across the African continent. Over the course of her career, Oneyka has worked extensively in research, negotiation, advisory and document preparation and review capacities on projects, corporate, finance and investment transactions of varying complexities and across multiple sectors of the economy. She has also gained experience coordinating regulatory compliance in over 30 African countries and involving local legal systems including OHADA, CEMAC, and WAEMU.
Prior to joining Centurion, she worked as an Associate in Olaniwun Ajayi, a leading Nigerian firm and played a pivotal role in advising investors and sponsors on landmark power and infrastructure transactions. She also worked with the Columbia Centre for Sustainable Investment based in New York where she advised on the peculiar provisions/terms in exploration and production contracts relating to the extractive industries in different countries around the world with the aim of helping governments, international investors and other stakeholders better understand the prevalent extractive industry investment framework.
Oneyka is passionate about the right to education, gender equality, equal representation and economic empowerment through sports and energy.
- LL.B. (first class honours) – University of Ibadan, Nigeria
- BL (first class honours) – Nigerian Law School
- LL.M. – Columbia University, New York
- New York State
Genevie is the Director of Centurion Law Group in Ghana. She is a lawyer and holds an international LLM from Temple University (Philadelphia). She graduated from the University of Ghana in 1996 with a LLB Degree and called to the Ghana Bar in 1998 after completing Ghana School of Law.
Genevive focuses on providing energy advisory and investment consultancy services, as well as on corporate transactions and providing legal advice to foreign investors and international companies entering Ghana.
Prior to joining Centurion Law Group, Genevive worked with Deleric Law Consult as a corporate and commercial attorney specializing on litigation in corporate and commercial matters. She is experienced in Ghana’s legal system and is a seasoned corporate and commercial lawyer and business consultant.
- International LLM, Temple University, Philadelphia-(2016- 2017)
- Professional law Course(BL) Ghana School of law- (1996-1998)
- LLB, University of Ghana, Accra- (1992-1996)
Managing Partner, Equatorial Guinea
Manuel Oliveira Toichoa is a Managing Partner at Centurion Equatorial Guinea.
He specializes in integral consultancy to companies. Manuel focuses on Commercial Law (OHADA Business Law among others), particularly the creation and liquidation of companies, registration and licenses, and contracts. Additionally, Manuel provides legal advice to clients in other matters related to labour and social security law, Administrative law and Tax law. Manuel has advised a wide range of local clients and international businesses entering Equatorial Guinea.
- Law Degree – University of Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain
- LL.M. (Master of Laws) Corporate and Finance Law – Widener University, DE, USA (Delaware Law School)
- Equatorial Guinea
Director Congo – Brazzaville
Julio the Director of Centurion Law Group in Congo – Brazzaville. He is a lawyer at the Kinshasa /Matete Bar (Democratic Republic of Congo) and a Chartered Tax Expert in the six countries of the CEMAC zone (Cameroon, Central Africa, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon Equatorial Guinea and Chad). Julio is focusing on legal and customs matters in the fields of Oil & Gas, mining, infrastructure and banking. Julio has wide experience in OHADA business Law and CEMAC legislation. For more than ten years, he has supported many investors in the Central Africa region. Prior to joining Centurion Law Group, Julio worked for leading firms across Africa, including PricewaterhouseCoopers in Cameroon and Etude du Bâtonnier Coco KAYUDI in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- LL.M. (Litigation and Business Arbitration) – Catholic University of Central Africa
- LL.M. (Business Law) – University of Douala
- Masters in Applied Taxation – University of Douala
- Kinshasa/ Matete (DRC)
Grace is Tax Director at Centurion Law Group and is responsible to design the CEMAC region tax strategy and to lead its implementation.
Prior to joining Centurion, Grace worked with KPMG Tax and Legal Cameroun where she provided advice to both local and multinational companies on various tax, legal and regulatory matters. She acquired wide-ranging experience in providing tax and regulatory compliance services, corporate tax planning, tax structuring & optimization; mergers and acquisitions; due diligence; and global mobility services for expatriates.
She has extensive experience in advising foreign clients in their activities in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad and Central African Republic.
She also obtained relevant experience during a secondment to the KPMG Nigeria practice where she worked on engagements involving clients in ENR sector and consumer markets.
- BSc. Law – University of Douala (Cameroon)
- LL.M. (Business Law) – University of Douala
- Masters in Applied Taxation – University of Douala
Director South Africa
Leon van der Merwe
Leon is a practicing Attorney of the High Court of South Africa, Director of Centurion South Africa and holds several years post admission experience. He heads up the team with all matters pertaining to the South-African legislative framework. His expertise includes Corporate Law, Commercial Law, Law of Contract, General, Civil and Commercial Litigation, Insolvency, Compliance, Property Law, Regulatory Law, Competition Law, Company Law, Compliance and risk.
Drafting and negotiations of contracts, risk analysis and providing complex corporate advice to public, private and JSE listed enterprises are some of the projects Leon has worked on.
He has provided legal services to major national and international corporations in various industries, such as forestry, mining, construction, engineering and retail.
- LL.B. – University of Pretoria
- Member of Legal Practice Counsel
- Member of International Bar Association
- Association of Young Arbitrators
- South Africa
Director Central Africa
Carl is the Director of Central Africa and a seasoned legal and tax advisory service professional who has many years of experience advising governments, multinationals and indigenous African companies on business law and practice across several Central African jurisdictions.
He has a proven track record of delivering effective legal advice to clients in the banking and finance industry and in securities and has, over the years, provided insight on key issues relating to investment, Infrastructure project finance, M&A, securities & debt recovery as well as tax compliance and transfer pricing across Central Africa.
Carl has an extensive professional network across African jurisdictions and is fluent in English and French.
- LL.M. (Business Law) – University of Douala, Cameroon
- LL.M. (International Disputes) – University of Douala, Cameroon
- Masters of Applied Taxation – University of Douala, Cameroon
- LL.B. – University of Yaounde II
- Postgraduate Diploma in Business Law – University of Yaounde II
TAX AND INVESTMENT DESK
Edem AndahHead Tax Desk
Keseena ChengaduHead Investment Desk
Anselmo EworoHead, Immigration & Government Relations
Akindele PhillipsCoordinator Tax Services, Nigeria
Pablo Obama MitogoCoordinator, AfCFTA Desk
Achare TakorHead of Intellectual Property Desk
Head Tax Desk
Edem Andah comes with decades of Africa-wide tax experience. Edem started his legal career as state counsel, rising early to become Assistant Director of criminal prosecutions and Litigations. He joined Shell Nigeria Development and Production Company (SPDC) as legal adviser and contracts draftsman in 1989. He was the pioneer Head of Tax in SPDC. He did his first expatriation to Shell Expro, UK and Shell International (SIPM) in the Hague in The Netherlands in 1995 to returning to Nigeria in 1997. Edem was also head of Shell Africa Oil Products Tax from 2004 to 2007, based in Nairobi Kenya, responsible for Shell downstream Africa tax in 30 African countries. On leaving Shell, Edem relocated to London, as the International Tax Manager for Sub -Sahara Africa, with Baker Hughes UK Limited. He returned to Nigeria and joined Ernst & Young (EY) as the Partner responsible for oil and gas tax services.
In 2016, Edem became Tax Partner with the commercial law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi LP, one Nigeria’s premium firms. Edem’s legal and tax journey has seen him pioneer the setting up of tax practices and has coached and mentored several tax persons and practitioners, who occupy strategic tax positions in multinational companies as well as with the Big- 4/5 consulting firms globally. He continues to encourage and engage with young and aspiring lawyers and accountants who are interested in taxation. He has continued to engage in thought leadership and is an Examiner of a UK based taxation body. He belongs to several fiscal study groups and is a member of UK based Chatham House.
Edem is a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria and an associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom and Nigeria. He is also an alumnus of the Harvard University Comparative Tax Policy and Administration program.
- LL.B. – University of Lagos
- LL.M. – University of Lagos
- MBA – University of Aberdeen
- MA (Taxation) – University of London’s School of Advanced Study
Head Investment Desk
Keseena is the Head of Investment at Centurion and serves as Executive Director of Centurion Mauritius.
With over a decade of hands-on international investments experience, Keseena is a powerhouse for Africa-bound investment structuring. She has advised a cross-section of institutional, government entities and private investors on business structuring within Africa and is a household name in energy sector investment.
Her deep understanding of the whole gamut of African financial markets, her familiarity with the overall corporate needs of an organizations investing in Africa with respect to corporate and tax structuring places her at the pinnacle of investment relevance.
An “out-of-the box” legal thinker with ability to devise legal and financial solutions to unique fact situations, Keseena has a proven track record of providing accurate and effective legal and general investment advice; and of adding value to organisations through the development of comprehensive attention to help mitigate risk and enhance the businesses of our clients.
She is also an asset in the corporate/investment industry with the legal and commercial aspects of international contracts, international corporate framework, fiscal management, contract management and investment risk assessment. Keseena is well versed in the OHADA, CEMAC laws and regulations and continues to advice on key sector investments in all African regions.
- B.A. Law and Management- University of Mauritius
- LL.M. (International Business Law) – The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)
Head, Immigration & Government Relations
Anselmo is a Partner in our Malabo’ office and Head of Immigration and Governance Relations. He leads the firms’ African-wide immigration practice and is evolving of the assessment to companies in labor, commercial, business and migration law and its establishment and registration in compliance with the local laws in Equatorial Guinea.
Besides immigration and governance relations, Anselmo focuses on dispute resolution strategies, including assessment of claims and potential litigation risks, administrative law, criminal procedure and oil and gas. Anselmo supports international clients from the energy sector in contract negotiations and advises on public tender processes with the government of Equatorial Guinea.
- LL.B. – Universidad Abierta Interamericana, Buenos Aires, Argentina
- LL.M. – School of Law of California Western University San Diego, California, United States
- Law Certificate, General Practice, Legal Assistant/ Paralegal – Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Coordinator Tax Services, Nigeria
Akindele is the Coordinator Tax Services, Nigeria. He has over a decade experience as a chartered accountant and tax expert providing audit, financial and tax advisory services to organizations in the Energy and Oil & Gas industries in Nigeria and other African countries.
Prior to the current role at Centurion, Akindele has been leading as a partner of PW Consult. He has been leading the team of chartered accountants providing professional service to organizations operating in a wide range of industries, across Africa, including Oil and Gas & the Fintech space to mention just a few industries. Prior to this, he practiced audit at KPMG Professional Services, Lagos providing audit services to organizations in the Oil and Gas industry.
He believes strongly in self-development and in addition has attended a several courses including ‘Building, leading, and sustaining the innovative organization’ at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Sloan School of Management, USA, ‘Mastering competitive and blue ocean strategy’ at the Lagos Business School, Lagos, Nigeria and ‘Oxford executive leadership program’ at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, UK.
- Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria – Bachelor in Accounting
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA, UK), Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN, Nigeria)
- Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN, Nigeria)
Coordinator, AfCFTA Desk
Pablo Obama Mitogo
Pablo is an Associate Attorney at Centurion’s Malabo office and Coordinator of the firms’ AfCFTA Desk. He advises clients on cross-border trade within the AfCTA area. Moreover, he advises clients on commercial and corporate law as well as litigation in related matters. Pablo has vast experience in contract negotiations and has successfully closed dozens of agreements. He focuses on negotiating difficult contracts between government agencies and companies in the construction, service delivery and energy sector and has negotiated various MOUs and joint venture agreements.
- Law Degree – Universidad Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial
- LL.M. (Alternative Dispute Resolution) – European Institute of Tax Advice
- General Practice Certificate – Duquesne University, School of Law
- International Petroleum Management Program – Institute for Petroleum Development
- Equatorial Guinea
Head of Intellectual Property Desk
Achare is an Associate Attorney and Head of the Intellectual Property Desk at Centurion Law Group.
As a skilled corporate lawyer with broad experience in varied legal jurisdictions, she shares her expertise to help clients navigate complexities in the oil and gas industry, debt recovery, immigration, Intellectual Property, Compliance and Transfer Pricing across Africa. Achare has vast experience in advising local and international clients in all areas of Intellectual Property law in many African jurisdictions.
She provides invaluable guidance and oversight in matters related to business start-ups, established corporate negotiations and transactional mergers and acquisitions.
- LL.M. (International Business Law) – BPP University Law School in London, United Kingdom
- LL.B. – University of Buea, Cameroon