The management of Zinox Technologies Ltd., Zinox Telecoms as well as Technology Distributions Ltd. (TD), has said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigeria Police, has cleared its staff of any infraction in the matter of alleged N170 million contract scam.
The company made the declaration in a statement where it said “the allegation is based on a series of petitions written by Benjamin Joseph, the owner of Citadel Oracle Concept Limited, a company based in Ibadan, claiming that his authorised agent, Princess Kama had connived with staff of TD, Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest ICT distribution company, to use his company Citadel without his knowledge to secure a contract for the supply of HP laptops from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)”.
According to the statement, this was not the case as both the Police and the EFCC have absolved the Company Secretary/Legal Adviser, Zinox Group and TD, Chris Eze Ozims; Managing Director, Operations, Mrs. Shade Oyebode and Head of Finance, Mr. Charles Adigwe, both of TD., of any wrongdoing “thereby vindicating the long-held position of the company on the innocence of its staff in the series of media campaign waged by Mr. Joseph through Premium Times, an online news medium”.
The company went on to explain that the issue arose from a business transaction between Citadel Oracle Concept Limited (Mr. Joseph’s company) and their appointed staff/representatives, (Princess Kama and Chief Igbokwe), when they won a contract for the supply of HP laptops to the FIRS in 2013.
“Having no funds to execute the contract, his appointed staff/agents approached TD, an authorised HP distributor to supply them the laptops on credit pending payment by the FIRS,” the statement explained.
It goes on to state that in view of previous bad experience and in order to avoid exposing the business to bad loans, TD had insisted that its staff, Mr. Ozims and Mrs. Oyebode, would have to be signatories to an account opened by Citadel Oracle Concept Ltd. for the purpose of disbursement of funds as regards the contract and as security for the laptops supplied on credit. Hence, immediately the contract was executed and payment effected by the FIRS, TD had deducted the pre-agreed invoice sum of the laptops and had its staff resign as signatories to the said account – a similar procedure applied to other customers who had similar contract with FIRS for the supply of similar HP laptops at the time.
But alas, said the statement, Mr. Joseph alleged that while payment was made using his company, no laptops were delivered to the FIRS.
Gideon Ayogu – Head of Corporate Communications at Zinox, said that Mr. Joseph and his collaborators knew the truth from the beginning but erroneously assumed that embarking on a media trial or blackmail will make Zinox succumb to the unfounded demands of Mr. Joseph.
“Premium Times keeps publishing that a prima facie criminal case was made by the Police and the EFCC in their reports against the staff of TD and Zinox. We have challenged them severally to publish any evidence of these allegations or reports. Till date, they failed to produce any such evidence, but keep publishing spurious stories handed down to them by Mr. Joseph.
“We, however, made it clear to them in a widely-read advertorial that this is against our corporate culture and requested them to publish proof of any infraction by the company or its staff. Again, they are yet to do this more than one year after. It is unfortunate because neither Zinox nor TD is desperate for cash for it to cheat any individual or company, as the case may be. I can confirm, and you can check with bankers in Nigeria, that this is one Group, which in her 32 years of existence is not indebted to any bank. It is a structured organisation run strictly on the integrity of the investors,” he concluded.