N8b contract tears company directors apart


Nnnamdi Felix / Abuja

A multi billion Naira contract awarded by Nigeria’s Sokoto state government for the construction of proposed Sokoto State University has torn the directors of the company to which the contract was awarded apart.

The shareholders of the company are at each others throat with allegation and counter allegation of impropriety in the conduct of the affairs of the company.

The company, McNamara Nigeria Limited, co owned by a Nigerian promoter, Mr. Uzoma Nwakuche and an Irishman, Jack Burtler, was awarded the contract for the construction of the state university at the cost of N8 billion.

Mr. Nwakuche who dragged the company before a federal high court siting in Abuja alleged that following the consideration of the Sokoto state government for the award of the mouth watering contract to the company, that persons closely connected to the Governor, Aliyu Wamako, approached the company with a proposal that he relinquish some percentage of his shares in the company to be re allocated to some persons whose contacts with the state government would guarantee the award of the construction contract.

He alleged that he was blackmailed to relinquish 3,100,000 units out of the 4m shares owned by him in the company which were subsequently allocated to Mr. Yahaya Mahmood, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and lawyer to the Sokoto state governor who was at the center of the infamous Sokoto state Governorship election appeal that led to the suspension of Justice Ayo Isa Salami as the President of the Court of Appeal.

According to the affidavit deposed to by the aggrieved director, his shares were allegedly wrongfully allotted to Mahmood, Nasiru Gawuna and Ahamdi Chikwe in the value of 2,000,000, 1,000,000 and 900,000 respectively. Nasiru Gawuna is said to be the anchor man to a member of the state’s cabinet.

He urged the court to declare as null and void the purported meeting of the company held on the 6th of June, 2010 wherein a resolution was passed to appoint Yahaya Mahmood and the others directors of the company on the ground that he, as a bonafide director, was not put on notice and was not in attendance.

He told the court that the other directors of the company successfully strangulated his stand for legality and accountability by removing him as a signatory to the accounts of the company and stripping him of his shareholding of the company despite his constant protests.

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Nwakuche further asked the court to declare that Mahmood and others did not legally acquire the said shares of the company for lack of validity of the meeting where resolution to that effect was passed.

Not done, he further alleged that the Irishman brought in other directors into the board of the company and colluded with Gawuna to incorporate another company which they made a sub contractor to McNamara Nigeria Limited, for the construction of the Sokoto state University and to whose accounts monies paid to McNamara Nigeria Limted were paid without following due process.

However, in a counter affidavit filed by Mahmood, Nwakuche was said to have willingly relinquished 3,100,000 shares out of the 4 million shares originally subscribed.

Mahmood said that Nwakuche was subsequently removed as a shareholder while Dramsay Ltd, Ahamdi Chikwe, Nasiru Gawuna were appointed shareholders.

The Senior Advocate said that the company recalled all the shares and re alloted them to shareholders wherein 900,000 shares were given to the plaintiff.

He also accused the plaintiff of forging a signature of one of the shareholders in a letter for caveat he sent to the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, and added that the plaintiff has no cause of action and had not come to the court with clean hands.

When the matter came up before Justice Ahmad Ramat Mohammed, the plaintiff, through his counsel, Eze M. Haroun, in a motion exparte sought to join another construction company in the matter and to amend his originating summons.

Eze prayed the court for a short adjournment for the hearing of the motion filed on January 18, 2013.

The court adjourned the matter to February 18th for hearing and ordered that hearing notice be served on the party seeking to be joined in the matter.

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