TAX EVASION AND FORCEFUL ACQUISITION OF OBAJANA CEMENT, KOGI & AKWA IBOM GOVERNMENT BATTLE DANGOTE
These are not the best of times for Dangote Group as they face allegations of sharp practices in business from Kogi State government, Kogi Assembly as well as Akwa Ibom State.
Already, the Kogi State House of Assembly has ordered stoppage to the activities of the company in two Local Governments in the State while investigations continue.
The crux of the matter, from our investigations arise from sharp practices in terms of tax payments.
According to exclusive reports from Kogi State, the initial story was that Dangote Group took over the State Cement Company illegally without paying a dime for the takeover.
According to our findings, Dangote took over the State Cement Company Obajana Cement without paying the necessary compensation to the State government.
This is corroborated by the State Assembly findings.
According to some media reports, ‘the parliament stated that all available documents showed that the company started as Obajana Cement Company before turning to Dangote Cement company without any considerations.
It also directed that the documents signed at the establishment of the company and relevant receipts of dues claimed to have been paid to the government be made available at the next adjourned sitting date.
The Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon. Matthew Kolawole, gave the order after interim reports of the ongoing investigative hearing on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) which was submitted by the ad hoc committee led by Hon. Isah Tenimu and deliberated upon at the plenary on Wednesday.
Kolawole said this has become imperative in view of the claims and counterclaims between the Chairman of Kogi State Internally Generated Revenue Service (KGIRS) and representatives of Dangote Cement.
The Speaker further directed that the Financial Director of Dangote Cement Company should meet with KGIGRS and the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry to reconcile financial differences.
Earlier, during the investigative hearing, the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry had pointed out that Dangote had not been paying business premises fees since operation in the state.
Responding, the representative of Dangote, Alhaji Jimoh claimed that on the contrary, Kogi State had 10 per cent share which could only be claimed if the state showed interest, adding that since no interest was shown, the shares had been acquired when Dangote became a conglomerate.
While the Financial Director of Dangote, Segun Oyebanjo, claimed that since 2016, the company has paid in total dues the sum of N14 billion to the coffers of Kogi State Government through KGIRS with receipts.
But the Chairman of KGIRS said it was not so, adding that the receipts being bandied are not from them.
Oyebanjo stated that it was only in 2021 that some certain taxes were not being paid’.
But the Kogi problem with Dangote is not limited to this.
In another development, Following the unrestrained environmental degradation in Ankpa and Olamaboro local government areas, Kogi state House of Assembly on Wednesday, directed the Commissioner of Police and Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to seal off operations of Dangote Plc in the affected areas of the State. The House gave the order during a public hearing on activities of Dangote Group in the state, especially on the the massive exploitation , environmental degradation and non compensation to the affected owners of the land and without revenue accruing to the state government.
The Speaker, Kogi state House of Assembly, Mathew Kolawole, charged the NSCDC commandant to ensure immediate implementation pending when the ad hoc committee on revenue clarifies some grey areas. Kolawole, who lamented the environmental degradation caused by mining activities on Kogi by the Dangote group and its subsidiaries, accused the multi national business concern of making billions in the state but yet fails to give back to it.
Akwa Ibom is also finding it difficult to collect its entitlement from the Dangote Group. According to reports from the place, the Itu Local Government blocked Dangote premises with their trucks because the company has refused to pay tax for more than two years despite series of pleas.
BUA Group Threatens To Sue GREENVILLE LNG Gas Company – For Breach Of Multimillion Dollar Contract
Two years after it was slammed with a $9m claim for breaching contract by a US Court, Greenville LNG company is on the brink of another lawsuit in its supply dealings with Nigerian-based manufacturing giant, BUA Group.
Owned by Eddy Van Den Broeke , a Belgian cement magnate, *Greenville* is the pioneer Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) production and distribution company in Nigeria with three liquefaction trains and a total capacity to produce 2250 MT of LNG per day.
The company, which was incorporated in 2013, prides itself for producing and marketing Liquefied Natural Gas to customers across Nigeria since April 2019.
It should be noted that the company is a Nigerian subsidiary of the International Engineering & Construction (IEC), a Luxembourg-based construction company.
However, in 2018, there were reports of how *Broeke* was struggling to get his LNG project off the ground in Nigeria and also facing a $9m claim from his subcontractor Baker Hughes.
How it started
In 2014, IEC through Greenville LNG entered into an agreement with Baker Hughes Energy Services LLC, formerly known as GE Oil & Gas (GEOG), for the purchase and installation of two small-scale liquified natural gas plants in Rumuji, Rivers State, Nigeria.
According to the documents obtained by POLITICS NIGERIA, GEOG agreed to supply IEC with two small-scale liquified natural gas production plants — the first by June 24, 2015, and the second by September 24, 2015— for use at the Rumuji Site.
In exchange, IEC agreed to pay GEOG $95 million. Both parties also agreed on a payment schedule, which would require IEC to pay various percentages of the $95 million at specific milestones.
It was stated that the agreement would be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the state of New York.
Unfortunately, GEOG failed to deliver the gas plants by their contractual delivery deadlines and this stalled installation, commissioning, and start-up of the Plants.
On July 31, 2018, IEC filed a Notice of Demand for and Commencement of Arbitration under the Contracts on behalf of itself and Greenville.
IEC initially sought approximately $75 million in damages but its demand increased to $700 million by the end of the arbitration.
The $700m claims included the liquidated damages for delayed delivery and damages associated with the delayed entry into operation of the gas plants.
But GEOG also filed counterclaims against IEC for breach of the contracts, asking for damages up to $40.1 million.
In 2020, the American Tribunal gave its verdict, ordering IEC and Greenville to pay GEOG over $9.5m for breaching contracts.
The Tribunal held that IEC had breached the Equipment Contract by failing to make two Milestone payments.
Dissatisfied with the judgement, On January 27, 2021, IEC filed a petition to vacate the Award in New York state court but the court rejected IEC’s arguments.
“In short, due to the strong deference owed to the decisions of arbitrators, the Court is compelled to reject IEC’s arguments and confirm the Award,” the court ruled.
*Poor Ethics/Underhand Business Practices*
It is believed that the posture of the company and record of breaching contract is owing to its owner’s secretive and shady business activities. Prior to setting up Greenville, Eddy Van Den Broeke ran ASCA bitumen from 1996 and grew the company into becoming a giant monopoly with over 90% of the Nigerian market by 2015.
Through this position, he was famed to hold everyone to ransom through alleged arbitrary price increases, artificial scarcity, amongst others. Eddy Broeke’s families were one of six of Belgium’s wealthiest families that featured on the Panama Papers, a cross-border investigation that revealed a list of thousands of people who channelled funds to tax havens.
“The family of *Eddy* *Van* *Den* *Broeke* , who turned the Eres company into an international player, is also mentioned. Eddy Van Den Broeke is identified as the sole beneficiary of at least five offshore companies in the BVI,” the ICIJ report read.
Eddy was named in the Panama Papers having had an extensive network of shell companies to hide his funds and avoid government oversight.
*Another multi-million dollar breach of contract suit looming*
Our investigations also revealed that recently, BUA, which is one of Greenville’s largest clients, is set to sue Greenville for 50 billion Naira for a possible breach in contract and reneging on its obligation to supply gas to its businesses in the far north.
According to sources, this dispute is as a result of Greenville LNG reneging on their contract with BUA to supply gas and also increasing prices arbitrarily despite the contractually agreed oil-indexed pricing for any changes in price.
Industry watchers1 have claimed that Greenville is trying to take advantage of its near monopoly in the domestic trucked LNG market hence their habit of entering into contracts and reneging on it after starting.
With Eddy and his companies’ history of reneging on contracts entered into with the Federal Government, partners, suppliers, communities and clients, it is unlikely that Greenville LNG or its billionaire owner *Eddy* and Managing Director , *Ritu* *Sahajwalla* would stop such behaviour anytime soon.
Experts familiar with BUA’s history of ensuring its rights are enforced, believe BUA will pursue this issue to a logical conclusion at the courts and till their rights are enforced.
Yemisi Imasi, CEO of Yellowpoint Group Declared Wanted by Nigeria Police For Fraud
The Nigeria Police Force has declared Victoria Yemisi Imasi, CEO of Yellowpoint Group wanted.
The warrant of arrest was issued by the Magistrate/High Court of Lagos, according to the special police Gazette .
The publication shows that the 46-year-old is wanted for fraud, obtaining money under false pretense, and stealing in Lagos by the assistant inspector general of the police Criminal Investigation Department, (FCID) Alagbon, Ikoyi – Lagos.
*Sketchy* *operations* : The development followed a petition by Chive GPS, a dispute resolution company that provides debt recovery solutions on issues bothering on obtaining money by false pretense and fraud against Imasi.
The debt recovery company had laid a criminal complaint, dated 16th July 2021, of a well-orchestrated theft by Imasi following an advert by her company, Yellow Point Media Enterprise, and Yellow Point FT International Ltd on social media channels.
One of the affected victims suffered a N47.73 million loss after transferring the money to different accounts operated by Imasi’s company with the intention of investing genuinely in the various investment packages in exchange for a fixed return.
Amount owed to subscribers: While the exact amount owed to all subscribers is unknown yet, reports indicate that the amount owed may sum up to billions of Naira.
On a platform, victims claim that over N10 billion was deceitfully and fraudulently collected from over 6000 Nigerians with the intention of trading forex.
The petition signed by 689 users as of press time accuses Yemisi of diverting the money to fund her lavish lifestyle and buying properties.
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