Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s Former Vice-President, has blamed a man named John Chiaiheman for the unpaid salaries of foreign staff hired as consultants for his media outfit, Gotel.
The affected workers are international broadcast journalists drawn from NPR, CNN, CNBC and other reputable networks, according to the report.
The workers disclosed that they left Nigeria hapless and with only promissory notes instead of monies owed them by Gotel.
The affected persons include Susie Iliyan, Ebong Udoma, Richard Spiropoulos, William Chu, David Guinan, Hannington Osodo, Devon Petley, Teddy Vuong and Kostas Sergiadis.
They were all hired between late year 2014 and early 2015 by Atiku’s company based in Yola, Adamawa State. However in a statement through his media team, Atiku blamed the Chiaiheman for the non-payment of the expatriate workers.
The report reads; For the avoidance of doubt, the funds dedicated to the payment of salaries of staff, both local and expatriates that were engaged by Chiamehen himself were made available to him. All those concerned are advised to contact Mr Chiamehen accordingly.
To retool its operations, Gotel had in year 2013 hired one Mr. John Chiahemen to lead the planning, design, build-out and rollout of TV Gotel Africa to be based in Abuja.
To this end, Chiamehen was given a free hand by the founder and board of the company to run the affairs of Gotel.
Requisite resources as requested by Chiamehen were made available. On his own part, Chiamehen had committed to a revenue profile of N150m, among others.
However by 2016, there were concerns that the Chiamehen management was only long in promises and short in performance, prompting the then board to empanel an ad-hoc visitation committee to examine the state of the company. The findings of that committee were damning.
Accordingly, the committee recommended the need for a comprehensive audit of the company. The audit revealed serious fiduciary infractions by the Chiamehen led management.
Further to the audit report, a board meeting was convened to consider the auditor’s report.
However, before that meeting, Mr. John Chiamehen bolted and has refused to make himself available to account for the huge resources put in his charge.
On 14th December, 2016, a formal petition on alleged breach of trust, fraud and misappropriation of funds against the former managing director was filed at the FCIID (Interpol) for investigation.
Mr. Chiamehen is encouraged to make himself available to give account of all monies put in his charge during his tenure as MD/CEO of Gotel.