From Fred Itua, Abuja
A Civil Society Organisation groups in Defence of Justice, has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes CommisSion (EFCC) and first generation bank, to unfreeze the bank account of Eleme Petrochemical Co-operative and Credit Society of INDORAMA Petrochemical in Rivers State.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, convener of the rights groups, Sam Adah im February 26, 2009 the federal government through the National Council on Privatisation had approved the sale of 10% of its equity shares in Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals ltd, Port Harcourt, Rivers State to the host community and interested staff of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals.
He said the 10% equity shares were shared as 7.5% were allotted to the host community, while the remaining 2.5% was allotted to the staff of Indoroma Eleme Petrochemicals.
“Interested Staff came together under Eleme petrochemical co-operatives in compliance to the federal government directive that a special purpose vehicle be formed where all members will belong to enable them buy the shares. In 2013, 10 staffs who initially subscribed to the purchase of the 2.5 equity shares had their jobs terminated from the employment of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals.
“This led to the beginning of a legal battle as to whether the laid off staff can continue to enjoy the dividends since they were not longer staff in the company.
“When the shareholding became an issue the laid of staff approached the River State Ministry of Commerce and Industry to arbitrate between it and the cooperative, the Ministry gave an Arbitral Award in favor of the laid off staff and consequently the exited staffs of the co-operative ,approached the federal high court to enforce the arbitral award and as required by law it was granted and the award became a judgment of the Federal High Court. The judgement affirmed the laid of staffs as the authentic owners of the shares,” Adah said.
He said the judgement has not been appealed to this day. He the EFCC started investigating the ownership of the shares of the cooperative after the case was concluded at the Federal high court.
He added: “The EFCC claimed fraud was committed in the process of acquiring the 2.5% shares after the high court has confirmed due process and rightful owners. The EFCC continues to intimidate the officials of the cooperative.
“This act continued until Justice Taiwo .O .Taiwo of the Federal high court in Suit FHC/ABJ/SC/1222/2020 granted an Order stopping the EFCC from arresting, inviting ,detaining and prosecuting or inquiring into the acquisition of shares of INDORAMA Petrochemicals ltd.
“We urge the new Chairman of EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa to revisit the case and make sure that certain elements in the agency promoting abuse of court orders be arrested and dealt with accordingly.”
Spokesman of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, told our correspondent that ongoing cases are not immediately made available to his office.