To ensure delivery of adequate healthcare services, EkoCorp Plc owner of Eko Hospitals last week approved the proposal to sell 110, 000,000 ordinary shares to Geoff Ohen Limited.
The resolution was reached through an electronic voting poll by the Board members and some shareholders during the company’s court-ordered Extraordinary General Meeting, EGM, in Lagos. At the end of the exercise attended by the representatives of regulatory bodies such as the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Security & Exchange Commission, SEC and 79.34 per cent voted in favour of the proposal to sell 110, 000,000 ordinary shares of the company to Geoff Ohen Limited while 20.66 per cent was against the proposal.
However, some aggrieved shareholders of the company staged a peaceful protest at the venue, claiming they were disenfranchised. Speaking, the company’s Acting Board Chairman, Prof. Joe Irukwu, regretted that the company recently experienced cash flow challenges which forced them to source for equity investment from investors and approached Dr. Geoff Ohen of Geoff Ohen Ltd to invest in EKOCORP.
“The company has fallen into difficult times in 2006 and in order to shore up its financial position, she entered into a share purchase agreement with Geoff Ohen Limited to issue its 110,000,000 ordinary shares at N4 each in August 2007.
The company promptly paid the sum of N440, 000,00 as agreed on the 3rd of August, 2007.“”There has been a dispute relating to the sale of 110,000,000 shares hinging on corporate governance issues. These had led to some court cases by interested persons at various courts and tribunals including the Investment and Securities Tribunals, the Federal High Court, and the Court of Appeal,” he explained.
Reacting to the approval, Irukwu said the resolution was in order. “The Registrar conducted the process and they have no choice but to support it because it is in line with the feelings of most of the directors.
“We made mistakes in the past and now, we are trying to correct the mistakes and the best thing is to follow the decision and use it as a bases for correcting the errors of the past.
In an interview, Chief Medical Director of Eko Hospital, Dr Adegbite Ogunmokun, said it was ordained by God judging by morality and how far the fund would help in resuscitating the hospital.Some shareholders of the company who staged a peaceful protest at the venue cited disenfranchisement of stakeholders and funders.“The protesting shareholders displayed placards with inscriptions ‘Geoff Ohen Where do you get money to invest? Please invest your money somewhere else’ ‘Eneli, Kuku, Obiora Legacy Must Stand’ among others.“They said that the EGM was an illegal meeting with the intention to formalise the purported taken over of the hospital management by some shareholders and board of directors.“Speaking with newsmen, a shareholder and representative of the Dedicated Shareholders Association of Nigeria, DSAN, Mr Oladimeji Adeleke, described the EGM as a show of shame as a good number of shareholders were disenfranchised from participating in the meeting.“Adeleke specifically mentioned that 14.5 percent sharesholdings of late Dr Eneli, one of the founding fathers of Ekocorps and his Estate which were deliberately blocked out from participating in the voting on the legality or otherwise of the 110 million private placement.“According to him, if majority of shareholders, especially those belonging to late Eneli were not disenfranchised of their voting rights, the outcome of the EGM would have been different.“He said: “Today’s EGM is not a meeting but a coup against Nigerian shareholders. We can see that the meeting has been stage managed to favour some board of directors.“”This is a big slap on Nigerians’ face, it shows that the board and management of Ekocoorps have taken us for a ride. It is a daylight robbery.“”We could see that there is a board crises. The full directors are not present either by person, proxy or virtual. We can see that some founding members of the company are not also present.“”We can see that some set of people want to hijack what they didn’t work for and want to take over the company from the real owners. We are here to make our intention known in a peaceful protest.“”As Shareholders we were not allowed into the EGM on the ground that the meeting was for a selected few people and that our names were not on the registered list. I believe our regulators should look into this and do the needful so that justice will prevail.”“He decried police harassment and intimidation when they were ventilating their anger against the disenfranchisement at the venue.“Another shareholder and National Coordinator, Ark of God Shareholders Association, Mrs Efunyemi Ibideyi, said that their disenfranchisement from the meeting was delibrate and also denial of their rights.“” I have never seen this type of AGM before. We want our regulators to please look into this. It is like the board of directors are hiding somethings. Eko hospital is dying because of the crises among the board of directors.“”Staff salaries can no longer be paid. We are pensioners, we want to reap from our labour.“”The crisis is really affecting our investment. This meeting is illegal. This meeting cannot stand and all resolutions is null and void,” she said. (Vanguard)