By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor
THE tension within Balogun Business Association, operator of the multi-billion naira International Centre for Commerce, ICC, at the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, Lagos State, has continued to mount as some members and stakeholders have vowed to challenge the present executives of the centre, which they said was unconstitutional installed.
To this end, a Lagos based law firm, Equity Chambers, through its Principal Legal Counsel, Mr. Kenneth Ugwu, has issued a letter to both the Executive Management of the Association as well as the association’s Board of Trustees on the issue of management of the financial and physical assets of the association.
He also claims that executives of the association was elected few months ago with an amended constitution not approved or registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in the manner stipulated in the Companies and Allied Matters Act.
Equally gravely worrisome are suggestions in the lawyer’s letter that the tenures of office of the trustees of the association expired since 1997, but the trustees have continued in office contrary to the provisions of the authentic constitution of the Association which put their tenures in office at five years from the date of the registration of the association in 1992. The law firm is not only pointing at very imminent litigation in court, but also suggesting the likelihood that it would proceed with a petition to the Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, to appoint an appropriate officer of the commission to conduct a forensic investigation into the affairs of the association while at the same time referring matters that suggests elements of criminality to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Three key formal officers of the association, Bede Onwuasoanya, a former General Secretary, Godwin Ummennabuike, a former two-term Financial Secretary Chief Paschal Ude, a former 1st Vice President recently raised serious concerns over the use of two separate and different constitutions in running the association, use of illegal and invalid piece of paper as the association’s constitution, re-appointment of a dead member of the BOT as a trustee of the association in 2001 etc. Recall that there were reports of alleged mismanagement of funds and physical assets of the association as well as alleged unconstitutional and illegal governance of the association and mismanagement of its International Centre for Commerce, ICC.
The President of the association, Chief Anthony Obih, however, dismissed these allegations as baseless, claiming that they were the work of opponents aggrieved at his emergence as the elected President who have refused to be gallant losers.
Meanwhile, the law firm, has given the Executives and the Board of Trustees up to Monday, 4th June, 2018 to take specified actions, failing which, according to the firm, it would commence the series of actions it indicated in its letter to the President of the association.