The sacked former Chief Executive Officer of Cadbury Nigeria PLC, Mr Bunmi Oni,Â told an Ikeja High Court that he acted on facts at his disposal to prevent the company from going down.Â Oni averred before Justice Ayo Phillips that the deferrals he made in respect of a N3 billion loss incurred by Cadbury was due to the situation the company found itself.
Oni under cross-examination by counsel to Cadbury, Mr Fidelis Oditah, however, maintained that the issues that culminated into his sack were based on collective responsibility of the companyâ€™s officers.
Oni sued the multinational, alleging wrongful dismissal, seeking an order of court to enforce the payment of his over 30 years service entitlements. He was dismissed on Nov. 16, by Cadbury on issues which bother on false accounting and book cooking, stocks buy-back, trade loading, tax default, false stock certificate and undisclosed interest in a company.Â Oni was later found guilty by the Securities and Exchanged Commission (SEC) and was banned for life from corporate service and from serving as a director in any public quoted company.
The former Cadbury chief who was in the witness box for about an hour, however, said: â€œI would probably do something differently,â€â€ when he was asked if he regretted what led to his sack. He insisted under re-examination by his counsel, Mr C.A. Candide-Johnson that he did not profit in any way from the decisions he took as the CEO of Cadbury.
Oni said he did not earn any bonus from the company between 2002 and 2004, adding that when he was advised on the existence of the bonus in 2005, he was still not paid by the company.
He, however, did not deny over-stating the profits of the company, but when asked if he knew that amounted to false accounting, he was indifferent. The sacked company boss, however, said that the decision of SEC leading to his ban was based on a report from Pricewaterhouse Coopers company, engaged by Cadbury to review and investigate the companyâ€™s financials. He said that he was neither invited to the meeting in which Cadbury sacked him nor given the opportunity to defend himself before the auditing firm.
Oni told the court that he had appealed the decision of SEC at an appellate court, stating that he was not given fair hearing. Philips adjourned the matter till Feb.