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Business News

Divergent vs ex-employees: Two sides to allegations against Glory Osei, Folorunso Muyiwa 

Divergent Enterprise has been the name currently trending on social media in the last 48 hours, but it’s not for good reasons.

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Divergent Enterprise. Glory Osei

Divergent Enterprise has been the name currently trending on social media in the last few days but it’s not for good reasons. The company, owned by Glory Osei and Folorunso Muyiwa, has been accused by ex-employees of scamming their clients through its various subsidiaries which includes fashion, property, and investment. But the end is not near, as the ex-employees say that they are unfazed by Divergent’s threats of taking legal action.

With footprints across various sectors in Nigeria, Divergent Enterprise is the parent company of notable startups, Porkmoney, LandLagos, and Hyberfactory, among many others. The companies, which are all located in Victoria Island, are alleged to be fronts for illegal activities.

According to some ex-employees on Twitter, the companies are scamming their clients, while others accused the co-founders and couple, Osei and Muyiwa, of creating hostile work environments which caused depression to some employees and the sack of about 30 employees within a day.

The accusations began to pour in after Osei posted on her Twitter account, @glory_osei, that her company, Hyberfactory was restructuring, disclosing that all positions in the company were open. This announcement wasn’t well-received by her ex-staff.

[READ MORE: HSBC to sack 10,000 more staff globally]

Countless allegations

While revealing his experience working for Divergent Enterprise, a Twitter user, @TheGeniusJaj, the publisher of BarcaFocus, said that he only worked for the company for four months before he and 29 others were sacked. He got employed in October 2017 and was sacked by February 2018, but was paid one month’s salary by the company.

He accused Muyiwa of operating a Ponzi scheme to defraud unsuspecting Nigerians, disclosing that Muyiwa organized an event at Civic Center inviting Nollywood celebrities in order to make the initiative look legal.

Jaiz bank

[READ ALSO: Nigerians may lose their jobs as mass sack looms at British American Tobacco globally]

Another ex-employee disclosed through her Twitter handle, @TherealAda_, that LandLagos was also a fraudulent enterprise operated by Muyiwa and Osei. According to Ada, who started working for one of Divergent’s subsidiaries in June 2019, but got sacked alongside several others across Divergent’s subsidiaries in September 2019, the scam runs through LandLagos, Hyberfactory and Porkmoney.

In one of Ada’s tweets about the company, she stated that, “For Landlagos, he had different lands for sale (3m, 4.5m, 5m and 12m). I’ll talk about the 3m lands because that’s the real scam. So the title of the 3m land was “Excision in Process” which means the lands were for Muyiwa but the government still had a big right to claim them.”

On the allegations against Porkmoney, Ada tweeted that, “Let’s talk about Porkmoney. Porkmoney is a supposed “pig farm” that needed funds to produce the end product which is “Porkoyum” Porkoyum’s office is at Ogba. So what Muyiwa did was that he’d tell people to invest a certain amount and then say he’d pay back with interest after 11 months.”

She added that, “There were different batches for the pork money scheme (Ponzi scheme). This is what Muyiwa did. First batch paid, Muyiwa used their money to flex. After 11 months, he started another batch which he used to pay the first batch. We know how MMM worked now.”

On Hyberfactory, Ada wrote“Let’s talk about hyberfactory. They sell fake hair and a lot of other fake stuff at ridiculously high prices. If you know about hair as I do, you’d understand what I’m saying.”

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Also speaking about her experience working for Network Bank, another subsidiary of Divergent, @bjfranzy said the company once sacked 40 staff, only to hire another 70 to operate what she called a Ponzi scheme.

According to her, Network Bank was another scam used to defraud customers. @bjfranzy also said that products created by Divergent, like the Flat Tummy Tea, Hair NowNow, Slimtea, are fake. She said that actors, or people willing to be paid to testify about the value of these products were hired. @bjfranzy worked there for three months.

https://twitter.com/bjfranzy/status/1186190642516582400

https://twitter.com/bjfranzy/status/1186201784823496704

Meanwhile, Kenny Owen said he knew nothing about the scam, though he experienced the wrath of Muyiwa. According to Owen, two weeks into working for Divergent in July, he became depressed, and was later sacked in September.

Another ex-employee, Onyii Bekeh, criticized the management system of the company. Bekeh who tweeted through her Twitter handle, @OnyiiBekeh, said Osei lived a different life from what she portrayed online.

Bekeh spoke of how the founders were “sharing money weekly on IG (Instagram). I was like but you owe people salary, what’s tea?” According to Bekeh, she didn’t mind the contrast in attitude until they started exploiting them. Adding that she was fired while on sick bed without notice. Bekeh used to work for Femfunds, another subsidiary of Divergent Enterprise.

While for @eOlaaaa, her employment at Divergent was moving from frying pan to fire as the experience was worse than her previous place of work where she was an intern. She said the employment destroyed her entire life, and likened it to slavery.

For Segun Oke, another ex-employee, his experience at LandLagos was short-lived as he was sacked after 11 months because Muyiwa had a new business idea, “Working in Divergent Enterprise (LandLagos) for 11 months, lol.. Most of the midnights, you are up thinking, ‘any day now, any moment now son’ …. you could practically be let go for being human. My Team and I were placed on “compulsory leave”.. W..what???!.”

Oke addedYou employ people, (professionals)… Engineers, etc.. Ranting about how intelligent you want the home to be.. 5 goddamn people had to leave their previous firms because what, – a false dream was sold. Tuuueh. Impractical jokes. This one pain me Gan.

“A month after.. Glory is back in the office. Muyiwa with his usual “new business ideas”.. Compulsory leave. LandLagos design and construction team. Fiam.. Gone. That’s where you’d know.. Its all a wash.. Social media real estate firm.” Oke concluded.

Yet another Twitter user@chuojekwe, who was a former employee of Osei, tweeted, “Glory and Muyiwa are being called out as the scam artists that they are. The worst thing is that I had to live with the trauma of being sacked (with immediate effect) with no reason at all. A fellow colleague (Elizabeth) came to tell me that I was being sacked. No letter, no HR.”

The accusation started years ago

There were many other ex-employees who spoke about their maltreatment by Osei and Muyiwa. However, this accusation didn’t start this year, as the company had been blacklisted by social media platform, Nairaland.

In 2014, one of Divergent’s subsidiaries  True Rebel Fashion, which was one of the earliest enterprises of Osei and Mayowa, had been accused of the same allegations. On Nairaland, a contributor reported that the company was into defrauding their clients by selling fake jewelry. It was disclosed in 2014 that the company had a cunning way of disengaging its workers without pay, within weeks of employment.

Divergent and Osei deny allegations

Both Divergent Enterprise and Osei have denied the allegations. Osei said the accusation of operating a Ponzi scheme was unreasonable as her company had ensured that it didn’t operate beyond its budget.

In her statement, Osei said“This is a ludicrous statement. Everything we have done from when we started till now is to maximize the resources at our disposal, making sure to not take more than what we need to achieve what needs to be done. It is pretty jarring that anyone would say this given just how fragile our ecosystem is. We are on schedule to paying all of our partners, and in fact, off the potential of all our other ventures would not be needing any more outside capital to finance our growth effort.”

https://twitter.com/glory_osei/status/1186195507049369600

She also dismissed the accusation that employees of the company were and are maltreated by Muyiwa and herself, “… let me categorically state, I have never mistreated any staff. We are a passionate business people, and all our efforts was always aimed at growing the people we have. Could we be gentler? Definitely, and if anything this whole fiasco is a teachable moment for my company. I wish we had handled the VERY necessary dismissals with a little more tact.” she stated while addressing other issues relating to the establishment of the aforementioned companies.

While for Divergent as a company, in a press release seen by Nairametrics, said that its operations are not against the law of Nigeria and conduct due diligence operations in their dealings. Divergent stated that the company is open to stakeholders to inspect and address any business issue.

[READ FURTHER: Uber sacks over 400 staff for the second time in 3 months]

Disgruntled ex-employees

Divergent said that the allegations against the company were being spread by disgruntled ex-employees, stating that none of the accusations are true, adding that it is fair in its dealings and transactions.

Legal tussle/Faceoff

Divergent disclosed that steps are being taken towards legal actions against the ex-employees who made the allegations against the company. The ex-employees are however not frightened by the lawsuit threat.

@glory_osei tweeted that, “if you want to sue; We can go there. I said it last night and I’m mentioning you now. Give me ALL the smoke!”

@eOlaaaa said, “Nobody is scared of lawsuit. Nobody in the tech, agric or big business scenes knew about this clowns before.”

While @TherealAda_ said, “I heard Glory wants to sue. Has she heard of a class action? No? Okay”

Another ex-employee tweeted,

Note: Muyiwa is yet to respond to the allegations. While effort to reach Divergent Enterprise and Osei proved abortive with no response to an email from Nairametrics on the matter.

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

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    Coronavirus

    FG denies report on reintroduction of Covid-19 restrictions, clarifies position

    The FG has denied media reports that it has reintroduced new Covid-19 restrictions as part of measures to curb the spread of the new India variant into the country.

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    FG publishes list of suspended passports for refusing post-arrival Covid-19 test

    The Federal Government has denied media reports that it has reintroduced new Covid-19 restrictions as part of measures to curb the spread of the new India variant into the country.

    The government explained that it was only maintaining the curfew under phase 4 of the phased restriction of movement adding that it never relaxed the curfew imposed earlier under phase 3 of the eased lockdown.

    This clarification was made by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee, (PSC) on Covid-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, on Monday, saying that it was erroneously reported.

    Mustapha said the announcement by the National Incident Manager, Dr Mukhtar Mohammed, during the PSC press briefing was taken out of context because the federal government did not relax the curfew imposed earlier under Phase 3 of the eased lockdown.

    What the SGF is saying

    Mustapha said, “Under the Fourth Phase of restriction of movement, night clubs, gyms and others will remain closed till further notice; while all citizens will also ensure that mass gatherings outside work settings do not exceed a maximum of 50 people in an enclosed space.

    These restrictions have been in existence under the Third Phase but are being maintained under Phase Four of the phased restriction of movement.’

    He further said because people had been violating the safety protocols, they had forgotten that the protocols were never relaxed in the first place.

    The SGF said, “Therefore, the PSC hereby reiterates that there is no newly introduced lockdown. There is no need for the panic that followed the announcement of the Fourth Phase of the phased restriction of movement.

    Hotflex

    We will continue to appeal to members of the public to comply with these restrictions because they are necessary safety measures against contracting the dreaded coronavirus, which is still ravaging human populations across the world.’

    Also, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at a meeting with Online Publishers on Tuesday, in Lagos, denied reports on the introduction or even reintroduction of new restrictions on Covid-19.

    Alhaji Lai Mohammed said there were no new restrictions, adding that the PSC on Covid-19 only reiterated existing regulations to control the spread of the disease. He said the only thing that was newly introduced was that anyone, including Nigerians travelling from Brazil, Turkey or India, must go through compulsory quarantine.

    In case you missed it

    It can be recalled that there were media reports that the Federal Government had reintroduced Covid-19 restrictions across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) following the disturbing resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic with the new India variant.

    President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the transition of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 to PSC on Covid-19, with effect from April 1, 2021, with a modified mandate to reflect the non-emergent status of Covid-19 as a potentially long-term pandemic.

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    Financial Services

    Inflationary concerns may lead to higher rate; Why 3 CBN MPC members want rates hiked

    Despite the slight push back, the MPC decided to hold the rates, owing to the supply factor and the weak economic recovery of Nigeria.

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    CBN forex restrictions on food itemsCBN approves new cheque standard for banks

    Three members of the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee proposed a rate hike citing several factors including Nigeria’s galloping inflation rate. Their decisions contradict those held by other members of the committee who voted for a continuation of the current monetary policy rate of 11.5%.

    This was contained in the personal statement of members of the  Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in the meeting held on the 22nd and 23rd of March 2021. The decision to hold the rate steady was not unanimous as three out of the nine members voted to increase rates. These disconnects from the majority took their stand as a result of inflationary concern facing the Nigerian economy.

    According to the Central Bank of Nigeria Communiqué No. 135 Of The Monetary Policy Committee Meeting, the members who were in support of hiking rates are namely; OBADAN, MIKE IDIAHI; SHONUBI, FOLASHODUN A.; and ADENIKINJU, ADEOLA FESTUS. The prime reason was the risk of high inflation on the economy.

    Despite the slight push back, the MPC decided to hold the rates, owing to the supply factor and the weak economic recovery of Nigeria. The CBN governor Godwin I. Emefiele and five others were in support of maintaining rate despite unstable inflation postulating that supply factor is fundamental to healthy recovery especially as a result of the pandemic.

    Emefiele said: “Supply constraints remain the key driver of both the inflationary pressure and the weak growth that we observe today. The weak GDP recovery provides an argument for further policy ease to support growth, but rising inflationary expectations justify a tightening. My inclination today is for a more balanced and cautious approach to monetary impulses.”

    Even though Emefiele admitted that inflation rate could rise in the near term, he feared that an adjustment of the MPR could worsen Nigeria’s “conditions” especially with the tepid recovery we are still experiencing.

    “I reiterate the imperatives of targeted lending to productive sectors to sustain growth without undermining our core objective of price stability. Based on the near-term inflation expectations and growth outlook, my position is to maintain the current stance of monetary policy and intensify our interventions. An adjustment today could in my view, destabilize the fragile recovery and worsen domestic conditions.”

    However, some members who did not share the view and speculation about higher inflation may affirm this stand OBADAN, MIKE IDIAHI postulated that the CBN should put more pressure on deposit money banks to comply with the LDR scheme, according to him.

    OBADAN stated that, “We are faced with the dilemma of low and fragile growth that needs to be reversed, accelerating inflation also needs to be tamed because it is Classified as Confidential and has a negative impact on people’s welfare and macroeconomic stability which is required for enhanced investment and production. Orthodox policy instruments available to the Bank are not capable of achieving the desired goals of strong growth and inflation control simultaneously without sacrificing one for the other. Stability needs to be brought to bear on the policy-induced drivers of the current inflation acceleration, while the MPR can be raised marginally with three objectives in mind: to signal the sensitivity of the Bank to address any possible monetary influence on inflation.”

    A skeptical and more hawkish Obadan also suggested that the recent inflation rate was also due to monetary policy reasons such as increased lending due to CBN’s LDR Policy, depreciation of the naira and a lower interest rate environment which drives people into assets that provide a hedge against the naira.  He also suggested that more efforts should be geared towards attracting foreign portfolio inflows.

    “The factor of monetary influence on inflation cannot be ruled out completely. It interacts with other factors to drive inflation, perhaps, in a limited role. Against the backdrop of the Loan-to Deposit Ratio (LDR) policy, I do not expect the MPR adjustment to adversely affect the volume of lending significantly. To this end, we should put more pressure on the deposit money banks to comply with the LDR policy. Marginal upward adjustment of the MPR can also signal the desire of the Bank to tackle the phenomenon of negative real interest rate. Finally, in the short term, it could be a signal to foreign private investors while we implement measures to ensure stable sources of external reserves accretion in the medium term. Yes, foreign portfolio investment flows are indeed hot monies that tend to be very volatile. However, under conditions of improving growth, such flows could play a stabilising role in the economy. So, my vote is: raise MPR by 50 basis points and leave the other parameters as they are.”

    SHONUBI, FOLASHODUN A., on the other hand, emphasized inaction was not an option considering how weak and fragile the economy currently is.

    “Clearly, not doing anything will portray the Bank as abandoning its mandate of price stability. In as much as growth remains weak and fragile, we cannot afford to pull the brake to avert a more damaging reversal of the trend in output growth. Notwithstanding that the present inflationary pressure is largely attributed to non-monetary factors, its persistence, and reversal of the moderation in month-on-month growth stresses the need for the Bank to take immediate action. Whereas it may appear unfeasible to deploy the conventional monetary policy to pursue growth and tame inflation simultaneously, the Bank cannot abandon either of the objectives at this time.”

    He also called for the continued intervention in key sectors of the economy postulating that this will boost economic growth.

    “I believe the Bank’s interventions through the aggressive provision of credit should continue as a complement to the ongoing effort by the fiscal authority to boost economic activities. As the Government acts more decisively to discourage bad behaviour and restore orderliness, we must collectively work to overcome the insecurity challenges. At the same time, we must begin to tighten to deal with the subtle monetary component of inflationary pressure and curb spiraling inflation, without suffocating economic growth.”

    Jaiz bank

    Adenikinju, the last of the trio emphasized on the need for the CBN to focus on addressing higher inflationary environment. He also explained that addressing inflation will signal to economic agents that the central bank is keen on stabilizing prices thus curbing the demand for forex.

    He stated that the persistently high inflation rate is cause for concern and that the CBN should begin refocusing its efforts to counter it, signaling to the wider economy that the CBN’s top priority would help to minimize foreign exchange market excesses, reduce liquidity-induced inflationary pressures on the economy, and protect fixed-income earners.

    “The rising global commodity prices, plus the depreciating exchange rates and relatively high costs of shipping and clearing of goods at the Nigerian ports have all contributed to high imported inflation and reduced the extent to which imports could have mitigated the impacts of high domestic food prices in the short term. However, the weak economic growth, rising unemployment and poverty also mean that we cannot aggressively pursue strict price stability at a time we are slowly crawling out of recession. I see the CBN intervention credit as complementary and not a substitution to credit from the deposit money banks. Also given the focus of capital expenditure of the government this year, it then means that we can focus on growth and tackle inflation at the same time. However, I believe the persistently high inflation rate is concerning enough for CBN to start shifting its focus to address it. Signaling to economic agents that price stability remains the focus of the CBN will also curb some of the excesses in the foreign exchange market and reduce the liquidity induced inflationary pressures on the economy and protect fixed income earners.”

    Bottom line

    Whilst the trio may not have gotten their wish, we believe the CBN might raise rates to cool off the galloping inflation rate. The CBN has gradually raised rates on its short-dated securities, a clear indication that it is worried about widening the negative real interest rate emanating from rising inflation.

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