An Abuja High Court has vindicated the long-held position of Zinox Technologies Ltd., and TD Africa, two of Nigeria’s leading technology giants, that its Chairman, Leo Stan Ekeh and its staff, Company Secretary, Barr. Chris Eze Ozims and two others, Shade Oyebode and Charles Adigwe respectively, had no wrongdoing in a long-drawn court case involving a N170m Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) contract.
The court on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, discharged and acquitted the duo of Princess Kama Onyeoma and Chief Onny Igbokwe, partners to Mr. Benjamin Joseph, who were accused of fraudulently executing the N170m contract awarded to Citadel Oracle Concepts, an Ibadan-based ICT firm owned by Joseph.
In addition, the sum of N20m was awarded as damages against the complainant, Mr. Joseph, for frivolous and malicious petitioning and prosecution.
In his ruling, the trial judge, Hon. Justice Senchi of the FCT High Court, Abuja, dismissed the case as lacking in merit, adding that the prosecution failed to establish the case of criminal conspiracy, forgery and fraudulent use of Mr. Joseph’s documents as alleged. Further, the judge acquitted the duo of all four count charges; even as he absolved both defendants, Kama, a long-time associate of Mr. Joseph, and Chief Igbokwe of the criminal charges levelled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The four-count charges are forgery; false board resolution of Citadel Oracle Concept, with intent to commit fraud and commission of fraud; using the forged documents as genuine and fraudulent use as genuine of the forged board resolution.
Mr. Joseph had petitioned the EFCC, the Police and later the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, alleging that his board resolution and other corporate documents were forged to execute the N170 million FIRS contract without his knowledge, even when he appointed the said Princess Kama to execute the contract on his behalf by issuing her a duly executed Power of Attorney and other corporate documents, all presented to the FIRS.
However, Mr. Joseph had also surprisingly accused top officials of TD Africa and Zinox, including its Chairman, Leo Stan Ekeh, of involvement in the alleged fraud, even when Zinox or Mr. Ekeh had never met or transacted any business with Mr. Joseph.
Indeed, after winning the contract, Joseph and his partner, Princess Kama had agreed to domicile the FIRS computer supplies transaction worth N170m with Sub-Saharan Africa’s foremost tech distribution giant, TD Africa, the biggest HP authorised distributors for funding, with a promise to pay immediately they received payment from the FIRS, with additional guarantee from Princess Kama’s uncle, Chief Igbokwe as Citadel Oracle Concepts Ltd. was not qualified to enjoy credit from TD Africa. When the FIRS paid for the supplies, Mr. Joseph had allegedly tried to divert the fund but his partner, Princess Kama refused and paid TD Africa the pre-agreed invoice sum of the laptops supplied on credit.
This move apparently saw Mr. Joseph take offence and he started writing all sorts of petitions to blackmail the Zinox Chairman, accusing him and other top officials of TD Africa, including Ozims, Oyebode and Adigwe; as well as Access Bank of criminally conniving to execute the contract without his knowledge.
However, investigations by the EFCC and the Police had absolved the aforementioned officials of Zinox and TD Africa, with the Commission later charging the staff/representatives of Citadel Oracle Concept Limited, Princess Kama and Chief Igbokwe, due to their own internal issues in Charge no. CR/244/2018 before the FCT High Court.
The ruling by Justice Senchi on Wednesday upheld the unflinching position of Zinox and TD Africa, which had repeatedly insisted on the innocence of its officials, especially in the face of a barrage of sponsored media attacks by Mr. Joseph and led by Premium Times, an online news medium.
Recently, the medium had come up with a report claiming that an unsubstantiated Police report had indicted the Zinox Chairman, Ekeh, which had been debunked by the Police Force and on the basis of the same case which Justice Senchi had ruled on Wednesday.
‘‘We are delighted to see justice finally run its course in this long-drawn case,’’ said Reginald Obiakor, a Senior Special Assistant (Legal) to Mr. Ekeh. ‘‘Despite the obviously sponsored attacks and campaign of calumny by Benjamin Joseph and Premium Times, we had remained steadfast in our conviction that Mr. Ekeh, Zinox and TD Africa had no case to answer, as TD had only extended a facility to Citadel and her partners. This case has caused us quite some embarrassment, especially considering the potential damage to the hard-earned reputation of an industrious/exemplary Nigerian and globally respected digital icon who has enjoyed over 35 successful years in business.
‘‘We wish to thank our local and international partners, friends and well-wishers who have continued to show us support, even when the attacks persisted. This judgment further strengthens our belief in the validity of the courts as the bastion of justice and hope of the downtrodden,’’ he concluded.
The facts on news reports about Facebook data
Since there’s still confusion about this data and what we’ve done, we wanted to provide more details here.
On April 3, Business Insider published a story saying that information from more than 530 million Facebook users had been made publicly available in an unsecured database. We have teams dedicated to addressing these kinds of issues and understand the impact they can have on the people who use our services. It is important to understand that malicious actors obtained this data not through hacking our systems but by scraping it from our platform prior to September 2019.
Scraping is a common tactic that often relies on automated software to lift public information from the internet that can end up being distributed in online forums like this. The methods used to obtain this data set were previously reported in 2019. This is another example of the ongoing, adversarial relationship technology companies have with fraudsters who intentionally break platform policies to scrape internet services. As a result of the action we took, we are confident that the specific issue that allowed them to scrape this data in 2019 no longer exists. But since there’s still confusion about this data and what we’ve done, we wanted to provide more details here.
We believe the data in question was scraped from people’s Facebook profiles by malicious actors using our contact importer prior to September 2019. This feature was designed to help people easily find their friends to connect with on our services using their contact lists.
When we became aware of how malicious actors were using this feature in 2019, we made changes to the contact importer. In this case, we updated it to prevent malicious actors from using software to imitate our app and upload a large set of phone numbers to see which ones matched Facebook users. Through the previous functionality, they were able to query a set of user profiles and obtain a limited set of information about those users included in their public profiles. The information did not include financial information, health information or passwords.
Keeping Your Account Safe
Scraping data using features meant to help people violates our terms. We have teams across the company working to detect and stop these behaviours.
We’re focused on protecting people’s data by working to get this data set taken down and will continue to aggressively go after malicious actors who misuse our tools wherever possible. While we can’t always prevent data sets like these from recirculating or new ones from appearing, we have a dedicated team focused on this work.
While we addressed the issue identified in 2019, it’s always good for everyone to make sure that their settings align with what they want to be sharing publicly. In this case, updating the “How People Find and Contact You” control could be helpful. We also recommend people do regular privacy checkups to make sure that their settings are in the right place, including who can see certain information on their profile and enabling two-factor authentication.
Doing Business in Nigeria Conference
This event will attract audiences such as Business Leaders, Senior Executives, Investors, Potential Entrepreneurs and Nation Builders.
We are delighted to present to you, Doing Business in Nigeria Conference (DBNC) happening on the 17th of April 2021 and organised by Linda Uneze, Co-Founder, Maurice Xandra Solutions.
DBNC is a business initiative established to create a platform where business professionals can share their experiences in addition to addressing some of the gaps and challenges peculiar to a developing nation like Nigeria. With the global influence of Nigeria, its population size and people resources, there is the need for interstate and global partnerships. So, the aim of the discourse is to showcase the will of businesses, the opportunities in the Nigerian market in a bid to attract investors, enlighten potential entrepreneurs and foster collaboration.
This maiden event is themed “Reshaping the Business Environment” and the focus will be on how economic threats can be transformed into business success and the role of talents in driving business sustainability. The Keynote speakers are Valentine Ozigbo, Immediate Past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Group and Mofoluwaso Ilevbare, the HR Director of P & G Australia and New Zealand. Our Panel Discussants consists of Dr Teddy Ngu, the Executive Director of GB Foods, Africa, Marilyn Maduka, People Director West Africa Ab Inbev, Lanre Da-Silva Ajayi, Managing Director of Lanre Da-Silva, Eyong Ebai, Zone General Manager GE Healthcare Europe, Middle East & Africa, Amaka Nsofor, Executive Director, Debt Market, Standard Chartered, Ifeoluwa Orioke, Chief Commercial Officer, Flutterwave, Yemi Faseun, HR Head Globacom and Lara Yeku, HR Head, Food Division Flour Mills.
This event will attract audiences such as Business Leaders, Senior Executives, Investors, Potential Entrepreneurs and Nation Builders. This event is sponsored by Flutterwave, a global Fintech company and GB Foods Africa, makers of Gino, Jago, Bama, Jumbo and other household items. Our media partners are BusinessDay, Nairametrics and the Workbooth Magazine.
For free access, please click on the link to register: bit.ly/dbnc
Additional Information as Needed
Dateline – 17th April 2021
Company info –Maurice Xandra Solutions is an HR consulting firm that specializes in providing HR advisory services, team building, recruitment including executive search and soft skill trainings.
Contact information – [email protected] [email protected]
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
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