Newswatch suit: Jimoh Ibrahim owes me N30m, Ray Ekpu tells court

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By Innocent Anaba

LAGOS—Former Chief Executive Officer of Newswatch Communications Limited, Mr. Ray Ekpu, yesterday, told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, that only a part of his retirement benefits was paid to him, after Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim acquired majority shares of the company.

At the resumed hearing in the suit by two minority shareholders,  Mr. Nuhu Wada and Prof. Jibril Aminu, who  are challenging the method through which Ibrahim acquired the majority shareholding of the company, Ekpu under cross-examination by Ibrahim’s counsel, said that Ibrahim cheated him by refusing to pay him a balance of N30 million of his retirement benefits.

“The sum of N79 million was paid to me out of N109 million. During his meeting with me and four other directors, he called on the accountant who read the figures to us. The figures were less than what we expected to be paid and we had since submitted our request for regularisation to the board on May 5, 2011.

“When we told him that the figures were less than what we expected, he said that  was the only money available. He just paid us what he wanted and still insisted on collecting 10 per cent as tax, the receipt of which he never gave us,” he told the court.

Ekpu said efforts to make Ibrahim to pay the balance through  correspondences yielded no result, while defence counsel,   tendered as exhibits, copies of a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, containing the names of other companies under the Newswatch group.

The MoU also disclosed how much was paid to other directors.

Further hearing in the matter, was adjourned till March 18.

Aruda and Aminu, in the suit, had accused the new management under Ibrahim of systematically working to kill the company’s main product, Newswatch weekly magazine and replacing same with daily newspapers, to be published by a newly incorporated company – Newswatch Newspapers Limited,  an organisation in which Ibrahim’s company, Global Media Mirror Limited owns a majority shareholding.

ABEOKUTA-NIGERIA Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE in Ogun State, yesterday, called off its one week old strike over unpaid salaries, leave allowances and pensions.

While it lasted, it paralysed activities at the 20 Local Government Areas in the state.

NULGE  in a statement jointly signed by the State President, Alhaji Tajudeen Olusesi and  Secretary, Mr. Bamidele Oyeniyan, said the indefinite strike action had been called off.

According to the statement, “ After appraisal of the agreement signed with the State Government side, I am directed to inform all and sundry that the ongoing strike is hereby suspended with immediate effect. In the light of this therefore, all local government workers in the state are hereby requested to report to their duty post as from Thursday (today).

“ All local government staff, including Primary School Teachers will receive their monthly salaries as their counterparts in the state civil service not later than 26th of each month. All deductions made from salaries of local government workers shall henceforth be remitted to the appropriate agencies and organizations.”

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