The management of Zinox Technologies, Nigeria’s leading integrated Information and Communications Technology (ICT) company, has debunked allegations of its Chairman, Leo Stan Ekeh, being indicted by the Nigerian Police.
This was contained in a detailed statement released to the media on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.
‘‘Firstly, Zinox Technologies makes bold to state categorically that neither its Chairman, Ekeh, nor any of its staff or the staff of Technology Distributions Limited, including Chris Eze Ozims, Shade Oyebode, Charles Adigwe and Mrs. Chioma Ekeh, were indicted by any investigative agency or facing any criminal trial in any court in Nigeria. Anyone with contrary position should please make it public. The crux of the matter is that Benjamin Joseph and his partner Princess Kama had domiciled an FIRS computer supplies transaction worth N170m funded by Technology Distributions Ltd., the biggest HP authorised distributors (and not Zinox Technologies), with a promise to pay immediately they received payment from the FIRS, with additional guarantee from Princess Kama’s uncle, Chief Onny Igbokwe as Citadel Oracle Concepts Ltd was not qualified to enjoy credit from Technology Distributions. When FIRS paid, Mr. Benjamin Joseph tried to divert the fund but his partner, Princess Kama refused and paid Technology Distributions the pre-agreed invoice sum of the laptops supplied on credit. Mr. Joseph took offence and started writing all sort of fake petitions. We are aware that Mr. Joseph has kept petitioning every Police station he comes across to invite Mr. Ekeh over a matter that he (Joseph) is currently standing a criminal trial for.’’
Zinox, which disclosed that the allegations were being propelled by some news media, especially Premium Times, allegedly at the instigation of Mr. Joseph of Citadel Oracle Concepts Limited, urged members of the public to pay no heed to the unsubstantiated claims, which it refuted in details.
‘‘Knowing the consequence of the intended mischief set out by these nefarious media, the management of Zinox deems it expedient to set the records straight with information and facts that can be independently verified by anyone. Indeed, we would not have paid any attention to the latest piece of sponsored fake news from Premium Times, were it not for the essential need to ensure that right-thinking Nigerians are not misled by the antics of an unscrupulous group of people who are bent on tarnishing the hard-earned reputation of Mr. Ekeh.’’
Further, the statement revealed that Mr. Joseph is currently facing a criminal trial on the same allegations he claims the Zinox Chairman was indicted for, thereby rendering his claims incredulous and without substance.
‘‘Joseph had lodged a complaint with the Nigerian Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Ikoyi, Lagos, claiming that his board resolution and other corporate documents were forged to execute the FIRS contract of about N170million. However, the SFU in their investigation did not only find out that he indeed authorized the contract by giving a letter of authority to his staff, Princess Kama, and who along with Chief Igbokwe, executed the contract, but that the board resolutions and other documents were indeed signed by him. This follows a forensic report dated 12th March 2014, by the Commissioner of Police (Forensic Science Lab) D’ Dept (Force CID) Nigeria Police with reference no. AR:4150/X/FCD/Vol.4/11.
‘‘It was on the basis of the findings above that the said documents were not forged and that the laptops, in question, were indeed supplied to the FIRS, that the then-Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase charged Benjamin Joseph for false information in Charge No. CR/216/2016 (Inspector General of Police vs. Benjamin Joseph) on the same set of facts/allegations which he now claims Mr. Ekeh was indicted for. How can Mr. Ekeh be indicted by the Police in 2015 when the same Benjamin Joseph is currently being tried by the same Police for false information before Honourable Justice Peter Kekemeke of the FCT High Court Abuja for same allegations?
‘‘It is instructive to note that the Attorney-General of the Federation through the Federal Director of Public Prosecutions had twice given legal advice to the Inspector of General of Police to prosecute the said Benjamin Joseph to a logical conclusion for giving false information. The legal advice was dispatched in two letters dated 10th February 2017 (ref no. DPPA/PET/397/16) and 7th May 2018 (ref. no. DPPA/ADV:1009/14). Consequently, the Inspector General of Police had acted on the legal advice vide a letter dated 16th February 2017 (ref. no. CB:3560/IGP.SEC/ABJ/Vol88/560) to the COP (Legal Dept, Force headquarters) to implement the legal directive of the Attorney General of the Federation.
‘‘It is, therefore, mischievous and deceitful for anyone to report that the Chairman of Zinox or its staff were indicted in 2015 by a report by one Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP). We state here that we are reading about the so-called 2015 report for the first time through the news media. The staff of Zinox or Technology Distributions were neither invited by the said ACP nor were they made to write any statements. Otherwise, let them produce any statements that were made to the so-called Police Investigation Board. How can you conduct an ‘investigation’ and make a report indicting certain individuals without hearing from them on their own side of the story? How can the so-called report of an ACP in 2015 override the subsequent unequivocal legal advice of the Attorney General of the Federal and the Inspector General of Police?’’
In addition, Zinox accused Premium Times of bias, even as it disclosed that the medium is currently being sued for defamation before an Abuja High Court.
‘‘It is also instructive to note that the said Benjamin Joseph had petitioned the Vice President of Nigeria on the same allegation, of which the EFCC was mandated to investigate. At the end of the investigations, the EFCC absolved Technology Distributions Limited and its staff. The EFCC rather charged the staff/representatives of Citadel Oracle Concept Limited (due to their own internal issues) in Charge no. CR/244/2018. None of the staff of Zinox or Technology Distributions were charged. The case is before Honourable Justice Senchi of the FCT High Court, Abuja, and can be verified independently.
‘‘All the documents above have been tendered in evidence in the ongoing criminal charge against Benjamin Joseph in the said Charge no. CR/216/2016, and can be verified by anyone. These facts and information are well known to Premium Times but they would rather hide them from their reportage. Of course, the biased and mischievous reporting stems from the fact that Zinox Technologies took out a N2billion libel case against them at the FCT High Court, Abuja, over these fake publications. Hence, it is important for the reading public to understand that Premium Times writes from the perspective of a disgruntled and aggrieved medium, due to the case Zinox has against them.
‘‘Also, neither Zinox or Mr. Ekeh has transacted any business with Mr. Joseph. He had been unqualified to enjoy credit from Technology Distributions Limited, another company affiliated with Mr. Ekeh and when he was aided by his business partner who approached TD Africa on his behalf, he had attempted to criminally corner the proceeds without paying for the items supplied on credit. Failure to achieve this aim had seen him turn around to claim that the items were not supplied to the FIRS and later, that he was not aware of the contract and that his signature was forged to execute the contract. He has since resorted to relying on some of our competitors who are funding him to continue his campaign of calumny against Zinox and Mr. Ekeh.
‘‘We make bold to say that Mr. Ekeh is a globally respected corporate citizen who has been in business for over 35 years with local and internationally reputed partners and without a single shred of scandal, fraud or underhand practices to his name.
‘‘Once again, we urge all Nigerians, our partners and other well-meaning people to ignore his antics, even as we await the speedy dispensation of justice in the suit involving him (Joseph) and Premium Times before the courts,’’ the statement concluded.