The Nigeria Police have issued an interim report from their investigation of how a Nigerian company (Folio Communications) acquired the privatised Daily Times of Nigeria Limited (DTN) with a bank loan, sold the shares of DTN in the Nigerian Stock Exchange to settle part of the loan secured in acquiring the DTN‘s shares, and then disposed off several properties of the company situated in Nigeria and another at Cold Harbour Lane, London and diverted the proceeds in a blatant/fraudulent case of Asset Stripping.
In a Police Report (Attached is the police report) http://www.elombah.com/anosike%20police%20petition.pdf obtained by Elombah.com titled; POLICE INTERIM INVESTIGATION REPORT- RE: CASE OF FRAUD AT DAILY TIMES OF NIGERIA PLC, The Police say it is a “case of fraud originated through a petition dated 15 January 2010, and addressed to the Inspector General of Police, Abuja Force Headquaters by one, Ikechukwu Obiorah & co acting for and on behalf of Messrs DSZ Ltd of Plot 114B, Olabode George Street, Victoria Island, Lagos”.
According to the Police Report, “The Petition was written against one Fidelis Anosike, Noel Anosike, Barr. Berth Igwilo, and one Barr Toyin Pinheiro (acting for Mikano International Ltd) and endorsed to the Commissioner of Police, Special Fraud Unit (SFU) for discreet investigation on 18 January 2010”.
What is intriguing about the Police report is that in a report widely reported by the Nigeria Media, a High Court in Abuja ordered the Inspector General of Police O. Onovo to commence criminal investigation on Senator Ikechukkwu Obiorah over bounced checks allegedly issued by him to Folio Communications Limited.
It would be recalled that Fidelis/Folio Communications alleged that they made a report to the police with respect to the bounced cheques and the senator used his influence to block the investigation and asked the court to order the police investigation.
Popular perception is that The Nigeria police was ordered by the court to investigate Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah and report back to the court. It turned out it was the senator and DSV who had earlier reported to the police to investigate Fidelis/Folio Communications for this blatant act of fraud against the Nigeria Company.
The Police report noted the “FACTS OF THE CASE” as follows:
Folio Communications and Fidelis Anosike (The Respondent) did not contribute a kobo out of the sum of N1,250,000,000.00 needed for the purchase of Daily Times of Nigeria Plc, but used the Petitioner (Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah) and Hallmark Bank Plc to raise the funds, while masquerading as the core investor.
“That the Petitioner contributed the sum of N500,000,000.00 to acquire approximately 40% of the shares of DTN Plc, while the sum of N750,000,000.00 was obtained from Hallmark Bank Plc (now in liquidation) to complete the purchase.
“That rather than run the Daily Times of Nigeria Plc as a company, the said Anosike resorted to stripping the assets and selling off the several landed properties of the company to the detriment of the investors and shareholders”
“That Anosike, the Respondent, among several acts of fraud, sold the major landed asset of the Daily Times Plc, that is, the stock exchange building at Lagos for the sum of N900, 000,000.00 but fraudulently declared the sum of N720, 000,000.00 while embezzling the sum of 180 Million”.
Last month the respondents got an order made by the Abuja High Court secured ex parte by Mr Anosike upon an application for leave to prefer direct charge against Senator Obiorah and three other Applicants for issuing dud checks, which order directed the Inspector General of Police to investigate the matter concerning Obiorah.
However, in a subsequent hearing – between Folio Communications Limited Complaint/Respondent and senator Ikechukwu Obiorah, Dsv Limited, Harlesden Engineering Limited and Corporate Ideals Properties Limited as First to Fifth Applicants – the court heard that the entire earlier ex-parte application by the Mr Anosike/Folio Communications is a gimmick to frustrate the enforcement of a judgment delivered by the Federal High Court in a suit filed against them in Suit No.FHC/L/CP/1328/2009 D.S.V. vs. THE DAILY TIMES OF NIGERIA PLC, AFRIBANK NIG PLC, FOLIO COMMUNICATIONS LTD, FIDELIS ANOSIKE, CHARLES ANOSIKE, & NOEL ANOSIKE, over the ownership of the Daily Times of Nigeria Plc, and judgement was duly entered in favour of Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah and DSV A copy of the order of Judgment is published here) (http://www.elombah.com/obiorah.pdf)
The Court further heard that Anosike and his counsel through press releases have been acting in utter disregard of the above judgment and have even cast aspersion and insinuations against the Honourable Judge of the Federal high Court.
In their motion on notice, the defendants admitted that it was true that they struck an agreement with the complainant to buy five properties in different locations in the country and to show their good faith to the agreement, they paid the sum of N100million but then they discovered that the properties have been either leased or sold and that leasors like the Zenith Bank Plc are already in possession.
They submitted that the ex-parte application brought by the respondent upon which the order for leave was granted was based “on fraudulent misrepresentation, blatant falsehood and a gross suppression of facts.”
In a supporting affidavit deposed to by Obiora, the applicants averred that the entire application by the complainant was a gimmick to frustrate and truncate the enforcement of a judgment delivered by the Federal High Court in a suit they filed against the complainant.
Obiora admitted that he issued post-dated cheques in the sum of N160million with the understanding that the cheques would be drawn when he received title documents and vacant possession of the properties.
He said that when he eventually discovered that the respondent did not own any print work factory in Abuja or anywhere, and having been shown an uncompleted, unroofed and abandoned building, and that the respondent had sold the stock exchange building for about N900million and not N720 million declared, he had to warn his bank.
He said categorically that all the five properties have either been sold or leased and the owners already in possession and that none was conveyed to him and wondered why he was being alleged of issuing a dud cheque.
The court was further told that Anosike (The Respondent) simply used the Applicants and Hallmark Bank Plc to raise the funds needed for the purchase of Daily Times of Nigeria Plc while masquerading as the core investor and afterwards resorted to stripping the assets and selling off the several landed properties of the company to the detriment of the investors and shareholders
“That as a result of problems that arose as a result of the recklessness of the management by the Respondent and fraudulent disposal of company assets, series of litigations arose between the parties.
“That the parties had then agreed that the Respondent would sell its factory at Abuja to the Company (DTN Plc) for the sum of N880 Million while the 2nd Applicant would sell its own factory to the company (DTN Plc) for the sum of N600 Million.
“That the 3rd and 4th Applicants were to purchase the five named properties of the company valued at N760 Million, the understanding being that since the Respondent had claimed the Stock Exchange building was sold for N720 Million and had held unto the money, it was to bring its said factory in Abuja into the company and to cover the said sum, would now receive the difference of N160 Million from the 3rd and 4th Applicants in addition to N720 Million to make up the N880 Million.
“The 3rd and 4th Applicants were to pay the remaining sum N600Million to DSV Limited the 1st Applicant for its own factory.
“That the properties that were to be conveyed to the Applicants for the said total sum of N760 Million are:
(1) No 35 Warehouse Road, Apapa, Lagos,
(2) No 15 Copper Road, Ikoyi, Lagos
(3) No 9 Wuraola Esan Close, Ashogbon, Ikeja, Lagos,
(4) Houses, 5,7,9 & 11, Gowon Estate, Ipaja, Lagos
(5) No. 63 Ikwerre Road, Port Harcourt.
The 3rd and 4th Applicants pursuant to the above agreement issued the 1st Respondent posted dated cheques in the sum of N160 Million with the understanding that the cheques would be cashed as the 3rd and 4th Respondents received title documents and vacant possession of the above properties.
“The 3rd and 4th Applicants thereafter paid the Respondent sum of N19Million vide Intercontinental bank certified cheque 00007554 and the sum of One Million in cash in redemption of one of the post-dated cheques, the receipt of which the Respondent duly acknowledged in the said agreement annexed as Exhibit “E”.
That the Applicants later discovered that the Respondent did not own any print works factory in Abuja howsoever or anywhere else.
The Respondent pointed out an uncompleted, unroofed and abandoned building, overgrown with weeds and bush without any printing equipment whatsoever.
It was a grand fraud, the court was told.
About the same time, “the Applicants also received proof that the Respondent had actually sold the Stock Exchange building for N900 Million and not the sum of 720 Million that was falsely declared. Another grand fraud. The copy of letter of offer from the Nigerian Stock Exchange showing the purchase price at 900 Million is annexed as Exhibit “E3”
“Due to the fraudulent misrepresentations shown in paragraphs 18 and 19 above the 2nd Applicant rescinded the agreement in Exhibit “E” and wrote to the Respondent conveying the same, a copy of the letter is annexed as Exhibit “E4”
“That consequently, the Applicants DID NOT receive any of the said five properties, and none was conveyed to them
“That the Applicant immediately demanded from the Respondent the return of the redeemed post-dated cheque, which it had failed to return and the other post-dated cheques but by then the Respondent had already cashed the sum of N80 Million plus the aforesaid N19 Million it had received by bank certified cheque and plus the cash sum of N1Million making N100 Million out of the N160 Million.
“That the Respondent promised to return the un-cashed cheques and the money already cashed.
“That the Respondent returned the un-cashed original cheques that were stopped, pleading that his staff had erroneously presented them for payment.
“That the said Terms of Settlement in Exhibit “E” were later overtaken and super ceded by the judgment of the Federal High Court in the matter on 24th April 2006 which incorporated fresh Terms of Settlement agreed to by the parties, which the judgment of the Court is annexed herewith as Exhibits “F” and which fact the Respondent suppressed from this Honourable Court.
“That all the above-said five properties never left the ownership and/or possession of DTN Plc until the 1st Respondent illegally sold or long leased them to third parties, as shown “hereunder, the same properties it claimed in the charge sheet that were obtained by the Applicants, in order to deliberately mislead this Honourable Court.
“That with regard to the said No 35 Warehouse Road, Apapa, Lagos the Respondent illegally and without the approval of the Board of Directors of DTN Plc long leased the same to Zenith Bank Plc, Ekochiv Nigeria Limited and the documents evidencing the transaction are annexed wherewith as Exhibits “G” and the copy of cheque of N40 Million received from Zenith Bank by the Respondent is annexed as “G1”
“That with regard to the said No. 15 Copper Road, Ikoyi, Lagos the BPE long leased the same to Dr. Patrick Oke and remitted the rent in sum of N35 Million to the Respondent who promptly converted the entire sum to its own use. A copy of the cheque is annexed wherewith as Exhibits “H” while the Respondent’s letter requesting for the payment is Exhibits “H1”
“That with regard to No. 9 Wuraola Esan Close, Ashogbon, Ikeja, Lagos the Respondent illegally and without the approval of the Board of Directors of DTN Plc sold the same to Mikano/Citico Communication Nigeria Limited for the sum of # 575Million, a copy of contract of sale dated 21st of Day of January, 2010 is annexed as Exhibits J” executed just five days before the filing of this charge and that Dr Alex Izinyon is very much aware of this since he is acting as counsel in the dispute regarding the purported sale of the above property by the 1st Respondent.
“That with regard to Houses 5, 7, 9 and 11, Gowon Estate Ipaja Lagos, the Respondent long before the agreement in Exhibit E had illegally encumbered the same with the tenants who are still in possession of same till date. I annex herewith its letter of offer of the property as Exhibits “K”.
“That with regard to No. 63 Ikwerre Road, Port Harcourt the Respondent illegally and without approval from the Board of Directors long leased the same to Tradetech Nigeria Limited for 25 years. I annex herewith a copy of the agreement as Exhibit “L”.
“That the Respondent deliberately lied to this Honourable Court and misrepresented facts in order to secure the leave of court for investigation and to use same for propaganda purposes in the media, just to tarnish the image and reputation of the applicants.
“That the order was obtained for the mischievous purpose of advertisement and publication of the order and processes to harass malign and blackmail the Applicants when there was no order whatsoever by this Honourable Court for substituted service by publication of the order and processes in the media.
“That in spite of the judgment of the Federal High Court the Respondent issued a caveat emptor in which it described DTN Plc as its subsidiary and in the same publication of This Day Newspaper of 2nd Feb. 2010, page15, the Respondent stated that the so called bounced cheques were issued to him by the 1st and 2nd applicants for the purchase of the shares in the DTN Plc contrary to its claim in this suit that the said cheques were issued to it for the purchase of the above listed properties.
“That as result of the fraudulent activities of the Respondent and Mr. Fidelis Anosike, we petitioned to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate the Respondent, Mr. Fidelis Anosike and the officials of the Nigerian Stock Exchange,
“That we have recently also petitioned to the Inspector General of Police to investigate the fraudulent activities of the Respondent, Mr. Fidelis Anosike and others and a copy of the Petition detailing their fraudulent acts is annexed
“That the said Mr. Fidelis Anosike and the Respondents have since been removed from the management of the Daily Times of Nigeria, and a copy of the Board Resolution is annexed herewith as Exhibit “P”, and I know that they consequently have no locus stand to seek the said leave from this Court in respect of matters concerning the Daily Times of Nigeria Plc.
“That if the above facts were brought to the attention of the Honourable Court, this Honourable Court would have refused to grant leave or to make the order directing the Inspector General of Police to investigate the frivolous and false complaint against Applicants.
“Therefore, the ex pare application brought by Mr Anosike/Folio Communications upon which the order was based is incompetent and not brought according to law.
“That the leave was obtained mala fide to undermine the judgment of the Federal High Court between both parties in this same matter.
“That the leave of this Honourable Court was obtained mala fide for the purpose of cheap press propaganda and blackmail, and frustrate the judgment obtained against it.
“That when certified true copy of the proceedings of this Honourable Court on 1st February 2010 in this matter, was produced, the Honourable Court rightly observed the lapses in the Respondent’s application and the reluctance of the Honourable Court to grant the order as sought by the Respondent”.
After hearing these submissions and the replies from the Respondents, Justice Lawan Gumi reserved ruling till March 17, 2010 in the application filed by Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah challenging the criminal prosecution preferred against him on the allegation that he issued dud cheques to Folio Communications. The Judge also said he would rule on the motion inviting the court to discharge the order for leave directing the Inspector General of Police to investigate Obiorah on that date.