30th August, 2021
Former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu has described as unfounded and disparaging allegations by Peoples Gazette that he tried to smuggle a stolen vehicle into the United States of America.
The media outlet also alleged that the former minister received N9.7 billion in his personal bank account, a report that has been denied by the bank.
The former minister made a demand of N3 billion compensation from the newspaper, following the false and malicious publication.
Kachikwu through the legal representative, Mike Ozekhome SAN said the allegations are baseless, provocative and malicious and a calculated attempt to rubbish his robust and enviable heritage of integrity and sterling character.
A pre-action notice to the media house clarified what transpired with the allegedly stolen/smuggled car.
“Contrary to the false and malicious narrative projected in the cyberspace by your media outfit, the true state of affairs remains that our client bought a Jaguar car in 2009 from Dazz Motors Nigeria Ltd, Victoria Island, Lagos.
“Our client paid fully for the car. After using it for some years, our client shipped the car to the United States of America, as a gift to a relation.
“However, the US Customs erroneously impounded it, mistaking it as a stolen car and for emission control infringement as cars with European and African emission control specifications cannot be used in the USA.
“Our client availed the US authorities of the details, and they reached out to the car dealer.
“The US authorities apologized for the error in seizing the car after they were unable to establish any basis or proof of the suspected stolen vehicle.
“Whereupon, the car was subsequently released to our client, who brought the same back to Nigeria and returned it to the car dealer.
“The car dealer subsequently refunded our client, the money he had paid for the Jaguar.
“It is pertinent to state that our client never stood trial in respect of the said car before any court in the US.
“Rather, it was he who as a claimant initiated administrative proceedings at the United States District Court in which the Jaguar car was a defendant.”
On the false accusation of having N9.7 billion in his personal bank account, the notice stated, “our client maintains that the purported bank statement of account, published by your platform, was a fraud as same was criminally doctored.
“While our client maintains a Domiciliary account with that bank, the true position remains that the purported statement put out a false transaction of N9.7billion Naira inside a Dollar Domiciliary account! How ridiculous?
“This factual relationship between our client and his bank, therefore, makes your spurious claim of a purported deposit of 9.7 billion naira into our client’s said bank account most preposterous, outlandish, bogus and bizarre. Be assured that the Police will unfailingly handle this criminal aspect. The machinery has been put in full gear.”
Dr. Kachikwu further demanded that the article be pulled down and a sum of three billion naira paid to him through his lawyer as compensation “for the unquantifiable and collateral damage done to him, his family, political, business, goodwill and professional endeavours.”
Failure to do this will lead to the commencement of legal proceedings against the media house, the notice disclosed.
In a letter dated August 26, 2021, and in reaction to the false account statement published by the online platform, the bank affirmed that the account statement published by the online platform is a fake statement of account as it did not emanate from the Bank nor did the account statement reflect the actual transactions as shown by the false publication.
“The statement is not in line with those issued by the Bank and did not emanate from us. They also did not reflect the true state of your accounts and are therefore false,” the bank said.