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Monday, November 02, 2015

Gobir cries for justice, says ‘I raised over N2bn for Afromedia’



The erstwhile director and head, Business Development Committee at the Board of Directors of Afromedia Plc, Nigeria's foremost outdoor advertising company, Alhaji Mohammed Gobir has decried his recent arrest by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Ikoyi, Lagos and denied all allegations of corporate fraud against him by leadership of Afromedia, insisting he made over N2bn for the company, reports ITRealms.

Recall that on Satuday, September 12 2015, Alhaji Gobir had unwanted visit in the name of EFCC operatives assaulted his person with arrest.

In a chat with the media, Gobie is also demanding justice, while maintaining his position that he deserves commendation rather than condemnation and linkage to 419, lamenting he was not given responder opportunity before the public court, especially the print media took delight in the story.

A press statement made available to ITRealms by his media aides, Gobir denied any linkage with 419, saying he was still at lost over the issue at the time of going to the press. Wondering how he would place estimated 30 years of doing business in Nigeria on the altar of 419.

Stressing that he has never been indicted, “has never been arraigned for any criminal offense, he has never been involved in fraud. Why would he now, at the height of his professional and business life be involved in '419' or what they called 'corporate fraud?”

Gobir insisted that he has been a credible businessman and contractor to Federal Ministries, Parastatals, Military and state Governments over the years.

Part of the statement read: “It is this background in business with extensive contacts that earned him the recommendation to join the board of Afromedia in 2009 at the time the company was raising funds to enhance its operations.
“He was specifically invited because of his network and goodwill which Afromediaidentified and needed at the time to obtain big accounts.
“And Gobir did not disappoint. He says from the period he joined the board of Afromediain 2009 till the time of his resignation in 2013, he brought in business worth at least N2 billion for the company. 
“He also got Afromedia to set up a regulatory framework for outdoor advertising in FCT, Abuja, similar to the Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency (LASAA). 

“It is in this context that one can understand the current travail of Alhaji Gobir. The EFCC, acting on the instruction of Mr. Akin Olopade, Group Managing Director of Afromedia, accused Gobir of illegally collecting $3,500,000, N514,457,151.87, $2,102,740 and 51,000 Pounds Sterling at various times through a phony investment deal.

“The answer to this is simple, Gobir said. As somebody in charge of business development, his main duty was to secure high level business opportunities for the company. It was on this basis that in one of the several private meetings he held with Olopade, both men agreed on the possibility of the company exploring and receiving capital investments following the melt down in the Nigerian stock market. 

"In accessing the capital investment, money was required to process and access the fund of which part of the sum was expended by Mr. Olopade who later turned around and requested for refunds of which several payments were made in repayment to him (Mr Olopade.)” Gobir said.

In addition, Gobir said both him and Olopade disagreed on the arrears to be paid as the figures were incorrect, and Olopade did not want to deduct earlier repayments from the total sum, therefore, reaching a deadlock. 

“That was the main issue in contention,” Gobir sources said, pointing out that Olopade even got mutual friends involved in the matter.

“While that was ongoing, EFCC operatives arrived that Saturday, September 12 and whisked Gobir away for interrogation, accusing him of "corporate fraud" and "419".
Gobir insisted, he was not in a transaction with Afromedia, who wrote the petition and took him to EFCC. Whereas, he did not obtain any loan whatsoever from Afromedia, nor was he in a transaction with the company.” 

His dealings, Gobir contended were personal with Olopade, “the Group Managing Director of Afromedia, with whom he wrote the agreement and whom had received repayments of over 120m via bank transfers and foreign exchange cash form lodgments into his personal accounts. 

“How could this have been 'corporate fraud' when I was dealing with, and making repayments to an individual who changed his mind to carry through a business and wanted his money back. “Would any fraudulent person, make repayments when you want to end a transaction; The next day I was in the media, condemned, and judged without any hearing" Gobir laments.

Further, Gobir said he never met Olopade before then but that once they met in the company, a deep friendship developed between them.

“That friendship has been seriously injured if not destroyed. Gobir is hurt, aggrieved, bitter, and feels betrayed. I need justice", he demanded.


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