Four founding members of Newswatch Communications Limited have faulted claims by billionaire businessman, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, that he owns the paper.
The founders, Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese, Yakubu Mohammed and Soji Akinrinade said Mr. Ibrahim does not own the newspaper because he never paid for the 51 per cent shares of the company, he now claims ownership of.
They said this in a statement details of which was published by ThisDay.
The founders claimed in the statement that Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim on October 31, 2017 “planted in several newspapers” a court decision that took place seven months ago, precisely on March 27, 2017.
The founders noted that Mr. Jimoh had since 2011 done everything possible to falsely claim 51 per cent shares of Newswatch Communications Limited, “which he never paid for.”
Mr. Ibrahim’s reaction could not be immediately gotten as at the time of filing the report.
The statement reads: “The judgement, which was given based on the fact that the judges misdirected themselves on the facts of the matter, has since been contested by two of the shareholders of the company.
“On May 5, 2011, the directors of Newswatch Communications Limited signed a Share Purchase Agreement with Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim and his Global Media Mirror Limited for the sale of 51 per cent shares of Newswatch Communications Limited to him and his company. The share purchase price was N510 million which he was to pay not later than May 5, 2011, the date of the completion board meeting.
“Ibrahim never paid the said N510 million before that day; he never paid it on that day and he never paid it after that day. Up till today, he has not paid for the said shares. But he has tried by hook and crook to own the shares of a company he never paid for.
“He took four of us-Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese, Yakubu Mohammed and Soji Akinrinade-to the Federal High Court in Lagos, claiming that we had retired from the company on May 5, 2011, and we were no longer directors of the company.
“The truth of the matter is that we retired from the company and were reappointed as non-executive directors at the very meeting in which he was chosen as chairman of the board of the company.”
They noted that Mr. Ibrahim announced their reappointment as the company directors in the news room and published same National Mirror, a newspaper he owns, the next day being May 6, 2011.
“For the 15 months that the magazine was published with him as the chairman, our names were listed every week as directors of the company,” they said.
Worried about the Nigerian judicial system, they raised optimism in challenging the latest judgement.
“We believe that despite the rot in the Nigeria system, there are still judges with a conscience who will not sell their conscience for a mess of pottage,” the statement said.