By Rasheed Sobowale
It was a beautiful morning when this reporter woke up to a WhatsApp message, written in the tone of “help us, we were being maltreated”.
More than 35 employees of Cellulant Nigeria Limited were sacked for allegedly “receiving funds from Agrikore wallets” in an inappropriate manner.
Cellulant Nigeria Limited is an agritech and fintech company founded by a Nigerian, Bolaji Akinboro, and a Kenyan, Ken Njoroge. The company has its presence in 12 Sub-Saharan countries – Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Malawi.
The Agrikore marketplace platform as well described on the company’s website; “connects stakeholders and services providers to farmers and the unbanked. The platform currently encompasses about 15,000,000 farmers’ records”.
Also included in the scoop this reporter got was that the Nigerian co-founder, Bolaji Akinbore has resigned all of his management functions in the company.
To ascertain the report, our reporter contacted the company for clarification/reaction to the development. In its response, Cellulant stated thus; “While conducting a compliance review on the Agrikore platform, we identified certain aspects of the compliance infrastructure and control framework of the platform that has not kept up with the platform’s rapid growth.
“An investigation revealed that 14 Agrikore employees had inappropriately received funds from Agrikore wallets. There is no indication that customer funds were compromised”.
Reading the above statement again, “14 Agrikore employees inappropriately received funds from Agrikore wallets” but over 35 staff were sacked!
It is, however, worthy to note that when Cellulant was contacted over the report that more than 35 staff were served pink slips, the company neither deny nor confirm the development.
When this reporter queried the affected employees on why 14 were found guilty and over 35 of them were sacked, one of them replied; “I learnt their defence was that, aside from the 14 that were sacked, the rest of us resigned willingly; but then, this begs for questions,
“Who would resign willingly at a time like this when there are no jobs and everyone is working hard to keep the job they have?
“How can over 25 staff resign willingly the same day and at the same time? It will be wise to ask the chairman and the chief compliance officer of Cellulant to name the staff that resigned willingly and also share their contacts”.
When contacted on the observed discrepancy, Cellulant’s media representative pleaded for some time to reply. There was however no response to such effect since two days ago except for the response; “Thank you for your mail. I will get back to you on this” which was sent immediately the first email delivered. A follow-up email has not been replied either.