. My office doesn’t handle petitions – anti-graft agency spokesperson
A Nigerian company that specialises in the promotion of tourism in Nigeria, Dreamworld Leisures Limited, has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to commence investigation of a petition filed by the board over alleged stealing of funds and share manipulation scam by its management.
The company expressed concern that the EFCC had refused to act on a petition filed by the board but chose to expedite action on the one presented to it by the management team.
A statement issued by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the firm, Wale Mesioye, and made available to journalists in Abuja, said the petition detailed weighty infractions against the management, including alleged share manipulation, money laundering, sale of company assets without the knowledge of the board, among others.
Mesioye said the Board had, in the petition to the EFCC, raised the alleged infractions by the managing director, including forgery of several board resolutions,
unapproved sale of landed property of the company, diversion and embezzlement of the proceeds from the previous sale of lands belonging to the company.
Others, according to him, included suspected money laundering, diversion of company funds to accounts of companies owned by the MD and his wife.
There were also alleged conflicts of interest by granting contracts to companies belonging to the MD and his wife.
Other allegations include “Concessioning of the company’s land assets to a third party company in which the managing director owned majority shares without any full disclosure to the board.
“Unilaterally approving expenditures and projects without recourse to the board.
Frustration of efforts of the board to conduct thorough forensic audits of his stewardship.
“Manipulation of shareholding of the company aimed at takeover of the company by the managing director and family to the detriment of other directors.”
The statement said the EFCC failed to act on the earlier petition submitted to it by the board but instead quickly worked on the petition by the management.
Mesioye added, “The board consequently wrote a petition to EFCC, highlighting all the aforementioned infractions but unfortunately, the petition did not receive any diligent investigation and prosecution.
“Surprisingly, the managing director submitted a petition to EFCC in 2021 and such was given accelerated and diligent investigation.”
He, therefore, appealed to the EFCC to revisit the petition.
“We the members of the board of Dreamworld humbly make the following demands:
“We call on EFCC to revisit the first petition by the board of the company, Dreamworld. We call on EFCC to abide by the extant laws, rules and regulations governing such investigations.
“We call on EFCC to discreetly investigate all sides to the matter and for all parties, including EFCC to desist from media trial of the board of directors, as such acts impede on board members reputation even when they are innocent”, he said.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, a former Military Administrator of Bayelsa State, Lt. Col Paul Obi (retd.), and a member of the board restated the position of the board.
According to him, contrary to reports, investors in the hospitality outfit virtually lost their investments to mismanagement of the resources of the organisation by the managing director.
“Following the above action, the board further took steps to regularise resolutions that had been previously passed but were not implemented by the former MD.
“It is these resolutions that have to do with registration of shares and change of Directors that have either left or those that are deceased. This was and is the bone of contention and the subject before EFCC.
“It should be noted that my action in the company has nothing whatsoever to do with my tenure as Military Administrator of Bayelsa State, where I served from August 1998 to May 1999.”
He said, “More so, this is not a case of corruption nor graft as insinuated in the media. Critically there is no way an internal dispute over shares can be equated as an economic or financial crime as has been reported by the media. While I and other Directors will defend ourselves legally, the facts of the case need to be made clear that this is purely a case of internal dispute among shareholders.
“As mentioned earlier all the shareholders that invested in this company have suffered financial losses due to the gross mismanagement of the Company by the former MD, the details of which are with the EFCC. I am aware that these publications were sponsored by those that want to divert attention from the real issues of Dreamworld Leisure’s Limited.
“It is also incumbent on me to set the records straight and present the facts before the public, failure of which my hard earned reputation will be damaged before the eyes of the public,” Obi explained.
When contacted on the status of the petition, spokesman of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, was evasive.
“My office does not handle petitions and there are many petitions we are working on. I would not know the status of the petition”, Uwujaren said.