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Business News

Businessman who alleges fraud in a N170 million FIRS contract, creates scene in court 

The MD of Citadel Oracle Concepts Ltd, Benjamin Joseph, reportedly cried and rolled on the floor of a courtroom, after he was denied a chance to testify.

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Businessman who alleged fraud in a N170 million FIRS contract, causes scene at court 

The Managing Director of Citadel Oracle Concepts Limited, Benjamin Joseph, reportedly cried and rolled on the floor of a courtroom recently, after he was denied a chance to testify. This is the latest in the protracted legal action that was launched by Joseph, who claimed that fraud was involved in a contract he had with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to supply HP laptops.

Nairametrics understands that the plaintiff previously had many opportunities to testify, but chose not to do so. He even supposedly addressed a letter to the court, in which he explained why he was disinterested in testifying. Parts of the letter reads:

“In view of the foregoing and the concerns raised in this correspondence, I express my sincere reservations about the modus and the end objective of the criminal trial above referenced. Regrettably, I do not feel in this circumstance that it would be safe for me to testify in this case with Mr Jude Obazuwa as the prosecutor, believing that he would lead me in destroying myself in the circumstance.”

Mr Joseph’s sudden renewed desire to testify was invigorated after his former business partner testified against him on January 30th, 2020. The said partner, who was identified by court documents as Princess Kama, was a key witness for the defense. She told the court how the plaintiff’s allegations bothered on a betrayal of trust.

According to Princess Kama, she was the one who helped Mr Joseph to secure the FIRS contract in 2012. She also claimed to have used her own money to finance the execution of the contract. However, just because he, Mr Joseph, was not pleased with his own share of the profit, he turned around and alleged fraud. See her explanation below:

“My Lord, I used my money and experience to package the bids. When the award was given to Citadel, we met with the point-person at Utako to agree on the sharing formula of the profit. We agreed that Mr Joseph will take the profit from one of the three lots. All the agreement was verbal, based on trust, in view of our over 10 years of friendship.

“The genesis of the whole problem was the decision to transfer the N38 million profit to him. But he wanted me to bring the entire value of the contract including the invoice value of the laptops supplied to us on credit by Technology Distributions. I refused because TD is supposed to take the agreed invoice value of the laptops while we take the profit.”

[READ MORE: PwC is being dragged into Isabel dos Santos fraud case)

She further told the court the plaintiff was later offered N10 million during a reconciliation meeting that was held in Ado Ekiti with Chief Afe Babalola and other parties involved in the case. The businessman has denied this claim, despite previously admitting to them in his court filings.

The backstory: In 2012, when Benjamin got the contract to supply some laptops to the FIRS, he reportedly sent an authorisation letter to the FIRS in which he appointed Princess Kama as his representative. As a representative, Princess Kama’s job was to handle the transactions. Therefore, acting in her capacity as a representative, Princess Kama approached Technology Distributions Ltd to supply the laptops on a credit to the FIRS.

A statement seen by Nairametrics also noted that Technology Distributors had appointed two of its staff members to serve as signatories to an account that was opened for the purpose of disbursing funds for the contract. The company said this was a security measure that was put in place to avoid exposing the business to bad loans.

“In view of previous bad experience and in order to avoid exposing the business to bad loans, TD had nominated its staff – Mr. Chris Eze Ozims and Mrs. Shade Oyebode – to be signatories to an account opened for the purpose of disbursement of funds as regards the contract, solely as security for the laptops supplied on credit.

“Upon payment of the sum for the contract, TD had gone ahead to deduct the invoiced sum of the supplied laptops and had its staff resign as signatories to the account.”

Stanbic 728 x 90

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Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs.He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor.Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan.If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Business News

Heavy sell-off in Guinness shares leads to N6.9 billion market value loss in a single day

Shares of Guinness Nigeria Plc suffered a 9.89% loss today.

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Guinness Nigeria Plc Reports Full Year F19 Results

Guinness Nigeria Plc suffered a 9.89% loss today following a heavy sell-off in the shares of the brewer. This triggered a market value loss amounting to about N6.9 billion at the close of trading activities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, as investors scaled-down stakes in the brewer.

Data tracked at the close of the market today revealed that the shares of GUINNESS declined from N31.85 per share at the market open, to N28.70 per share at the close of the market today, to print a loss of 9.89%.

This decline saw the market capitalization of the leading maker of beer and spirits fall from N69.75 billion to N62.86 billion at the close of trading activities today, putting the total market value loss at N6.89 billion.

The shares of Guinness at the close of the market today cleared at N28.70 per share, 9.89% lower than the closing price of N31.85 per share yesterday.

At the current price, Guinness shares are currently trading 20.27% lower than their 52-week high of N36.00 per share. However, the shares of the company have returned about 120.8% gains for investors who bought them at their 52-week low trading price of N13.00 per share last week.

During trading hours on the Exchange today, about 159,380 ordinary shares of Guinness Nigeria Plc worth about N4.57 million, were exchanged in 27 executed deals.

The shares of Nigerian Breweries Plc and Golden Guinea Breweries Plc closed flat at N50.1 per share and N0.81 per share respectively, while the shares of International Breweries Plc shed 0.88% to close low today at N5.65 per share.

What you should know

  • At the close of trading activities today, the NSE All-Share Index and market capitalization appreciated by 0.29% to close higher at 39,128.34 index points and N20.477 trillion respectively.
  • The NSE Consumer Goods Index, an investable benchmark designed to track the performance of the shares of consumer goods companies like Guinness Nigeria Plc, depreciated by -0.35% to close the day lower at 553.26 index points.

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Business News

NAICOM revokes operational licence of UNIC Insurance, appoints Receiver/Liquidator

NAICOM stated that it had appointed Hadiza Baba Gimba as the Receiver/Liquidator to wind up the affairs of the company.

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Recapitalisation: 26 firms get NAICOM's approval

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) on Wednesday announced the withdrawal of the operational licence issued to UNIC Insurance Plc.

Although no official reason has been provided for the revocation of the insurance firm’s operating license, NAICOM, however, stated that the decision of the regulator was in the exercise of the powers conferred on it by the enabling laws.

According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure is contained in a notice which was issued by the commission in Lagos to the general public and policyholders, where it noted that the revocation of the operational license, RIC 043, is with effect from March 25.

NAICOM, thereafter stated that it had appointed Hadiza Baba Gimba as the Receiver/Liquidator to wind up the affairs of the company.

NAICOM in its statement said, “The general public/policyholders are by this notice required to direct all inquiries and correspondence regarding UNIC Insurance to the receiver/liquidator.

The receiver/liquidator will be dealing with the company’s liabilities in accordance with the provision of Insurance Act 2003.’’

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that NAICOM, for the third time in June 2020, gave insurance firms in the country a one-year extension to meet the recapitalisation obligation that was recently set for them apparently due to the coronavirus pandemic which had disrupted the activities of most insurance companies.
  • Some insurance companies had been going through some bad patches with a good number of them struggling to meet up with their obligations and the recapitalization requirements.
  • The recapitalisation programme requires life insurance firms to meet a minimum paid-up capital of N8.0 billion, up from N2.0 billion previously. In the same vein, general insurance companies are required to raise their minimum paid-up capital to N10.0 billion from N3.0 billion previously.
  • The regulatory capital for composite insurance was raised to N18.0 billion from N5.0 billion previously while reinsurance businesses are now required to have a minimum capital of N20.0 billion from a previous N10.0 billion.

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