Revelations from the Corporate Affairs Commission have shown that last weekend’s recruitment exercise carried out by the Nigeria Immigration Service, which ended in stampedes across several states and the deaths of at least 20 job applicants, was handled by a dead company.
According to a CAC letter to LEADERSHIP dated March 21, 2014, Drexel Nigeria Limited, which was awarded the contract to carry out the recruitment exercise, had not filed its annual returns to the commission since 1994.
The annual returns, which is the company’s audited report, is legal proof that it is still in operation and under the country’s laws. It is a crime for any operating company not to file its annual returns to CAC.
Failure by a limited liability company to file annual returns with CAC is a breach of the Company Act. The filing consists of annual audited accounts. The law prescribes a fine for each year a company is in default.
According to a source at the commission who spoke to LEADERSHIP Weekend, registered companies that have not operated for a number of years and filed their annual returns in that period risk being deregistered after an average of 10 years.
The letter shows that Drexel Nigeria Limited was registered on August 25, 1989, with a share capital of N500, 000. 1999, 999 of those shares are owned by Kolawole Ayodeji Sofeso of 1A, Sanusi Street, Isolo, Lagos, while Daniel Adetunji Sofeso of 8C, Reeve Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, owns 299, 999 shares.
The company has three other directors, namely, Daniel Suleiman Inman, Collins Ayodeji Osiwja and Michael Abayomi Sofeso, all of 3A, Adesoye Street, Okupe Estate, Maryland, Lagos.
The company was registered to carry out the business of exporters, importers, buying agents, trust agents, forwarding and clearing agents, commission agents, financial agents, travel agents etc. Checks by LEADERSHIP Weekend also showed that the website of NIS is being managed by the same company.
When asked about knowledge of the operating status of Drexel Nigeria Limited, the Nigeria Immigration Service told LEADERSHIP Weekend that the minister of interior, Abba Moro, was in a better position to answer that question as NIS has had no dealing or contact with the company.
The public relations officer of NIS, Chukwuemeka Obua, said, “The best person to answer this is the minister or a member of the Civil Defence, Immigration and Services Board. The comptroller-general of NIS never had any direct dealing, no MoU and no contact with Drexel.”
He added, “The comptroller-general cannot employ without the board. According to the law establishing the Nigeria Immigration Service, issues of promotion and recruitment are handled by the 10-man board.”
The special adviser to the minister on media, George Udoh, however told LEADERSHIP Weekend that he was not in a position to comment on the letter from CAC because he had not seen it nor was he in a position to comment on allegations from NIS that Drexel was engaged by the minister and board with the comptroller-general having nothing to do with it.
Udoh said, “I have not seen a copy of the letter. It will be impossible for me to ascertain. I do not think I can make any comment until I have seen the letter.”