Dangote is distorting facts – Govt
BY BRIGHT JACOB
The Kogi State Government has again debunked claims by the Dangote Group that Obajana Cement Factory is owned, 100 per cent, by the Conglomerate, insisting that there was no valid acquisition.
The state government also vowed to recover all accrued dividends from profits made over the years by the Dangote Group, including accrued interests on same.
As a first step, the Specialised Technical Committee on the Evaluation of the Legality of the Alleged Acquisition of Obajana Cement Company Plc by Dangote Cement Company Limited has expressly asked the Kogi State Government to cancel the existing seven Certificates of Occupancy.
This was part of the recommendations contained in the report of the 10-man committee, headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. (Mrs) Folashade Ayoade, and submitted to Governor Yahaya Bello of the state.
Reacting to an official statement by the Dangote Group on Friday, the Commissioner for Information in the state, Kingsley Fanwo, said it was important to make it clear to the general public that the state had all the relevant documents to prove that the purported acquisition of Obajana by Dangote was null and void.
He noted that Kogi State indigenes would not be intimidated into forgoing their birth rights to any individual or institution, no matter how highly placed, adding that Governor Yahaya Bello was committed to his inaugural promise that his administration “shall exist for the sole purpose of serving the superseding interests of the people of Kogi State”.
“We want to assure the good people of Kogi State that, with God on our side, what belongs to the state shall be recovered, including all dividends and interests on profits from inception till date. The Dangote Group is just distorting facts to save its face,” Fanwo said.
The detailed Committee report, which was made public on Thursday, by the SSG, also charged the government to take steps to recover Obajana Cement Company Plc now changed to Dangote Cement Company Plc.
Ayoade had revealed with documents that the purported transfer of Obajana to Dangote Industries Limited, was “invalid, null and void”.
She disclosed in the report that three Certificates of Occupancy for Obajana Cement Company Plc, which were solely owned by the Kogi State Government at the time, were used to obtain a loan of N63 billion by Dangote.
According to her, the Committee, in view of its findings, has therefore recommended that Kogi State should take steps to recover the Obajana Cement Company from the Dangote Group.
Stressing the aberration in the arrangement, the SSG said, “Agreement between Kogi State Government of Nigeria and Dangote Industries Limited, dated 30th July 2002 and supplemental agreement dated 14th February 2003, as contained in Exhibit 71 of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry Report, purporting the transfer of Obajana Cement Company Plc to Dangote Industries Limited, are all invalid, null and void.
“There is no evidence of consideration paid by Dangote Industries Limited to Kogi State Government from the alleged transfer of Obajana Cement Company Plc and no dividend was paid to the state from the profits realised from the inception of Dangote Cement Company Plc to date.
“By the assignment of the three certificates of occupancy, the title in Obajana Cement Company Plc, still vests in Kogi State Government as the sole owner. The three documents were used to obtain a loan of sixty-three billion naira only (63,000,000,000.00) to finance the construction of the cement plant in Obajana.”