More details have continued to emerge regarding the management crisis in Nigeria’s agrictech and fintech company, Cellulant Nigeria Limited.
The sacked staff by the company over alleged “sharp practices” in its Agrikore platform has rebuked the claim.
The ex-employees who pleaded anonymity said the company (Cellulant Nigeria Limited) never found them guilty of the allegation and was in a haste to terminate their appointment.
Speaking to Vanguard, one of the affected employees said; “This is already a red flag that there are problems. If there is fraud, the company is expected to isolate the issue, investigate, share the report of culpability, and let people go quietly and business continues.
“Why are they shutting down a business (Agrikore marketplace) that is supporting food security?”
Recall Cellulant had in their last response to Vanguard said it has hired “an independent “Big 4” accounting firm to conduct a complete forensic review of marketplace wallets and a well-respected Nigerian law firm to lead a full, independent investigation of the platform”.
Another sacked employee who reacted to the statement above said; “according to their (Cellulant) response to you (Vanguard), they said the sacked staffs were involved in some sharp practices, right? But is it possible to sack somebody when you are still conducting forensic audit?
“We were suspended 2nd September and by 15th September, our appointments were terminated without the conclusion of the forensic audit.
“Why are they in a haste to sack us. At least, they should have completed the audit which would have revealed if we are guilty of the allegation or not.”
When asked about what they think could inspire such action, the sacked employees said they were still dazzled but “suspected it as a ploy to bring in new people loyal to the chairman, board of directors and the chief compliance officer”.
On further probing, Vanguard asked the affected employees why the need for such action? Is it that such will bring in more profit for the company or it is suspected they are loyal to a particular person or faction the company is trying to handicap?
They alleged that the action was taken due to “unhealthy corporate governance practices by the board of directors and the group compliance unit”.
When asked to elucidate their allegation, in their response, the affected employee said; “Looking at this situation, the following are suspicions:
“1. Cellulant is under a hard hand doing everything to take over the business and discredit the founders.
“2. Someone is using the chief compliance officer to paint the co-founder and people connected to him as lacking in integrity
“3. There is a possibility that a hijack is planned and the chief compliance officer is the one delivering the ploy
“4. Or Cellulant is hiding something and working quickly to cover it up.”
”5. we believe the board has been threatened of the Nigerian founder ever since he raised a significant amount of money”
In its reaction, Cellulant, said all of the allegations by the sacked employees were “false and unfounded”.
The company once again clarifying why the employees were sacked said; “our compliance processes have enabled us to identify issues that led to the decision to temporarily shut down the Agrikore marketplace, inform our customers and regulators, and terminate the employees involved.
“A complete forensic review is being conducted to ensure the integrity of the platform”.
Also reiterating that it has no ulterior motive in shutting down the Agrikore platform; Cellulant restated; “As soon as we understood the issue, we moved quickly to temporarily shut down the Agrikore marketplace, inform our customers and regulators, and terminate the employees involved. The integrity of the Agrikore platform is our top priority“.