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Tuesday 19th January, 2021

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Zinox Debunks Claims Of Police Indictment Of Leo Stan Ekeh

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Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman, Zinox Group

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 clarification 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 a 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 an 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 sorts 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 said.

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,’’ Zinox further said in the statement.

The statement further 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 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 was 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.

“No staff of Zinox or Technology Distributions was 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 Federation 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 was 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 nor 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.

 

 

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Founder/Editor of www.digitaltimesng.com. He is passionate about technology and how it can be used to transform human life, businesses and services.

BANKING

Stanbic IBTC Discontinues BDC Business

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Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, has announced that its Bureau De Change Subsidiary, Stanbic IBTC Bureau De Change Limited has discontinued its Bureau de Change business with effect from 01 January 2021 by relinquishing its operating license.

The discontinuation of operations of the BDC business was primarily driven by changes in regulations, which now affords customers with the opportunity of purchasing foreign exchange (PTA and BTA) directly from Stanbic IBTC Bank at any of its branches nationwide.

The company said in a statement that the intention is to repurpose this subsidiary for other business venture in the near future, and stakeholders would be duly notified when all engagements have been concluded in this regard.

Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, a member of Standard Bank Group, is a full-service financial services group with a clear focus on three main business pillars – Corporate and Investment Banking, Personal and Business Banking and Wealth Management.

The group’s largest shareholder is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world’s largest bank, with a 20.1% shareholding.

Also, Standard Bank Group and ICBC share a strategic partnership that facilitates trade deals between Africa, China and select emerging markets.

Standard Bank Group is the largest African financial institution by assets. It is rooted in Africa with strategic representation in 21 countries on the African continent.

The Bank has been in operation for over 158 years and is focused on building first-class, on-the-ground financial services institutions in chosen countries in Africa; and connecting selected emerging markets to Africa by applying sector expertise, particularly in natural resources, power and infrastructure.

 

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Lagos-Based Daystar Power Startup Secures $38million Investment

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Photo credit: Ventureburn

Daystar Power, a Lagos-based Nigerian tech startup, providing solar power solutions to businesses in the region, has secured $38million in a Series B Investment. 

The investment was led by the Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU), the Danish development finance institution (DFI) with additional investors including STOA, a French impact infrastructure fund, Proparco, and several other investors.

The solar power-focused startup will reportedly use the funding to grow its operations in Nigeria and Ghana, with an aim to expand to other countries such as Senegal, Togo, and Côte d’Ivoire, according to a report in ventureburn.com

The report said the funding will assist Daystar Power to increase its installed capacity to over 100 megawatts, catering to clients in various sectors such as financial services, agriculture, manufacturing, and more.

Thomas Hougaard, Vice President Sub-Saharan Africa, IFU provides insight into why an investment was made into Daystar Power in an official press release.

“We believe that Daystar Power has the right elements — the client base, technology, engineering expertise, and executive leadership — to scale off-grid solar across West Africa.

“Not only is Daystar Power at the forefront of a growing market, but it is also helping to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy in some of Africa’s fastest-growing cities.”

Founded in 2017 by Sunray Ventures, Daystar Power provides affordable, renewable, and stable power to businesses in West Africa.

Christian Wessels, Co-Founder of Daystar Power and Sunray Ventures explains the aims of the solar power-focused tech startup.

“Sunray Ventures founded Daystar Power to address one of West Africa’s most significant barriers to economic development — access to reliable and affordable power.

“We are happy that this transaction will provide Daystar Power with the required financing to continue to lead in off-grid solar for commercial and industrial customers in West Africa.”

The innovative service allows commercial customers to pay in cash or pay a monthly fee for its services.

Jasper Graf von Hardenberg, CEO, and Co-founder of Daystar Power points out that businesses in the Sub-Saharan region are tapping into solar power sources to maintain stability and operations.

“By offering our commercial and industrial clients cheaper, reliable, and cleaner power, we have seen a more than 50-fold increase in power-as-a-service revenue over the last two years.

“African businesses are realizing that solar power stand-alone or in tandem with a second power source, is a superior energy alternative to the often-unreliable grid or too expensive, polluting diesel generators.”

By providing a renewable energy resource and transforming it into electricity, Daystar Power is able to reduce pollution and positively contribute to the natural environment.

Traditional methods of accessing electricity include the burning of diesel, which emits harmful gases into the atmosphere and contributes to global warming.

 

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PayPal Takes Full Ownership Of Chinese Payments Business

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A PayPal building.......Photo credit: Bitcoin News

PayPal Holding Inc has become the first foreign operator with 100% control of a payment platform in China.

According to Chinese government data, this comes as the U.S. fintech giant eyes a bigger foothold in a booming market for online payments.

Reuters reports that PayPal acquired the 30% stake it doesn’t already own in China’s GoPay, formally known as Guofubao Information Technology Co., on Dec. 31, 2020, according to shareholder data from the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System.

Financial details weren’t disclosed in the data, according to Reuters.

The stake purchase came a year after PayPal bought a 70% stake in GoPay for an undisclosed amount, then becoming the first foreign company licensed to provide online payment services in China.

In taking full control of one of the smaller players in the world’s largest payment market, PayPal will compete with domestic payments giants Alipay, owned by Alibaba-affiliated Ant Group, and WeChat Pay, owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd, as China fully opens up its financial sector.

The stake purchase also comes amid Beijing’s antimonopoly campaign against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and other Internet companies.

Last August, PayPal appointed Hannah Qiu as head of China business, responsible for formulating long-term strategy in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Qiu was a former executive at insurer Ping An Group’s fintech unit OneConnect, according to PayPal’s website.

PayPal said in its 2019 annual report its initial focus in China is to provide cross-border payment solutions to Chinese merchants and consumers, linking the country’s commerce ecosystem to PayPal’s global network.

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