by Isi Esene
The spat between billionaire businessman, Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim and the founding management board of Newswatch Magazine continued yesterday with the former owners, Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese, Soji Akinrinade, and Yakubu Mohammed expressing their regret at the turn of events.
Ibrahim had a few weeks back announced the sack of the former management and their removal from the board of company.
He said the four men had conceded the ownership of the company to him and they are no longer eligible to sit on its board considering their minute percentage share of 6.1 per cent in the company. According to him, an individual must hold a minimum of 10 per cent of a company’s total share to be eligible to sit on its board.
“They are knowledgeable and old enough to know the implication of the documents they signed and as such cannot eat their cake and have it,” he chided.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ray Ekpu and his colleagues have promised to fight their removal from the board with all legal means available. They expressed their regret at his actions and wondered why he has refused to keep to the spirit and letter of their agreement.
In a statement released to the press by the Newswatch founders titled ‘A Litany of Lies’, they wondered why Ibrahim was owing workers four months salary as of August 2012; failed to pay the balance of N500 million he was to pay the company as part of his 51 per cent shareholding, and refused to remit to the tax authorities the 10 per cent of money he deducted from their retirement benefits.
“These decisions break the spirit and letter of the understanding and agreement we had with Mr. Ibrahim concerning the future of our beloved Newswatch. We believe the decisions to be illegal and clearly counter-productive,” they said.
Mr. Ibrahim had on August 7 announced the suspension of the 28-year-old news magazine for what he described as “corporate surgery”.
The last has certainly not been heard about the battle of ownership for the soul of the news magazine.