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Procurement expert slams N350m suit on BAT Nigeria over termination of employment

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Court

By Akin Kuponiyi

A Cameroonian Procurement expert, Eithel Effiang Chu Yeh Mbunkur has slammed a N350 million suit against the British America Tobaco Nigeria Limited company over alleged wrongful termination of his employment.

According to statement of fact filed in court by a Lagos lawyer, Barrister Oluwole Kehinde, Mbukunur alleged that BAT terminated his appointment after he has concluded all necessary processes to relocate to work with the company in Nigeria, including resigning from his previous employer in Cameroon.

He alleged that BAT claimed that his employment was stopped over alleged unsatisfactory finding of background check on him by a consultant.

“On 16th of May 2019, the Company by way of email and attachment wrote that the result of background check on him gave sufficient cause for concern and was unsatisfactory, that in view of the negative outcome of the background check, the company was unable to proceed with the offer or allow him to assume his job with the company and thereby revoked the offer of employment made pursuant to the Offer Letter of 10th of April 2019,” said the lawyer.

He, however, asserted that what the letter referred to as “negative outcome to background checks” was not disclosed to him or his representatives, despite several requests to do so. This, he said denied him the opportunity to validate or challenge the background checks.

“The preparation leading up to the offer of employment letter were significant and provided assurance of relocation to Nigeria. In view of the notice period required he relied on this and resigned in preparations so as to focus his entire attention on the new position with the company,” the Cameroonian said.

He accused BAT Nigeria of misleading him to disengage from his former employment in preparation to taking the company’s offer, incurring monumental expenses preparing to travel to Nigeria to take up the company’s offer and engaging n numerous mental and emotional activities in preparations for taking-up the company’s offer.

“The refusal of the Defendant to disclose the content and or result of the alleged background check to him is inimical, unfair, and reprehensible, and therefore renders the aid report invalid and a nullity.

“By the international labour standards established by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Defendant has a duty to prove the reason given for terminating his appointment,

“As a result of the wrongful termination of his employment by the company, he was rendered unemployed for several years after losing his juicy job for the offer received from the company. His circumstances and situation was worsened by reason of the fact that he was to relocate from Cameroon and assume duty at the company’s office in Nigeria.

“As a result of the unwarranted and wrongful termination of his employment, he was made to incur monumental costs and damages.

“Consequently Claimant’s claim is for: Declaration that the termination of the employment of the Claimant by the defendant based on the alleged background check conducted on the Claimant by the defendant is wrongful as the said background check and termination of the employment of the Claimant are against best labour and employment traditions, conventions, and best practices.

“The sum of N350, 000,000 THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION NAIRA ONLY) being compensation for the wrongful and unlawful termination of his employment by the company. Interest on the said sum of N350, 000, 000 THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION NAIRA ONLY) from the date of judgment until the final liquidation of the judgment sum.”

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