Thursday, September 11, 2014 7.35PM / Gboyega Nasir Isiaka
Enough of Amosun’s Continuous and Pretentious Amnesia on Gateway Holdings (GHL)
The recent address by His Excellency, Senator Ibikunle Amosun on OGTV, Rock City Fm and other local radio station tagged: “My Stewardship” and the crafted falsehoods therein has caught my attention again particularly the series of unfounded allegations and misinformation against the immediate past administration unexpected of the exalted office of a governor.
I would have desisted from reacting this time around because as you will recall that the Ogun State Commissioner for Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun during her appearance before the State House of Assembly on Wednesday 12th of February, 2014 had spewn the same lie in a morbid bid to justify the pervasive and now well-established poor management of the state's resources by the present administration in Ogun State. At that time I reacted through a press statement titled: “Ogun Finance Commissioner's Deliberate Misinformation on Gateway Holdings: Setting The Record Straight”. Until this shameful repeat by Governor Amosun, that my reaction has attracted perfect silence from them.
RockcityFm had also invited me and the Commissioner for Finance to its Station on this matter in February but the Commissioner took excuse of one week extension of the appointment. Since then; we are still expecting the expiration of that one week. I want to restate that I AM CHALLENGING THEM to open debate on this matter or indeed any other matter.
However, because of the fact that lies told severally without a debunk will naturally put up the garb of truth; I have decided for the sake of the unsuspecting good people of Ogun state to put a lie tothismisinformation from executive quarters and set the record straight once again as follow:
a. Gateway Holdings ltd started operations in 2004 and by 2008; it had substantially raised the investment profile of the state and paid dividend income in excess of N1.5billion to the coffers of the State, the first time in the history of the State.
b. In 2008, the management of the Company saw the need to significantly augment its working capital especially to enhance the operation of its subsidiaries. It also opted to diversify its investment portfolio by constructing a 12 storey building to house the permanent location of the Abeokuta branch of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, utilize a maximum of 4 floors for itself and subsidiaries while generating income by leasing the remaining floors to companies who were being encouraged to move their offices to Ogun State.
c. Follow up to the above, GHL applied for a loan from Sterling Bank Plc. The loan was subsequently approved and a sum of N1.5billion was drawn in two tranches of N1billion on 29th September, 2008 and N500million on 17th October, 2008.
d. Out of the amount drawdown, only a sum of N483million was disbursed on account of construction of head office project including fees to professional firms.
e. The remaining amount was utilized as follow:
f. In its letter dated 17th October, 2011, the contractor handling the project put the value of the work done on the site and other claims at N652million as at that date against a total disbursement of #483million as mentioned in (d) above. The letter was sent to all professional parties involved as well as Gateway Holdings.
g. The initial projections of GHL to pay back the loan from capital market gains fell flat as a result of the widely known crash of the capital market. Also, one of the Company’s sources of getting a breather was from the equipment hiring operations of Plantgate Equipment Hire Service, the then subsidiary of GHL did not materialize as unpaid bills to Plantgate at the time from the State Govt ministries/agencies was in excess of One billion naira.
h. As a result of the above, GHL requested and convinced the State government to include the outstanding amount and indeed the entire funding of the head office complex in the then proposed State Bond with the proviso that Gateway Holdings will subsequently pay back from its revenue from the head office complex and other internally generated sources. The document of the then proposed State Bond already approved by The Nigerian Stock Exchange at that time is available at The Exchange to verify this claim. These would have given us the benefit of refinancing the facility and the construction of the head office with a cheaper fund repayable over a longer time and also give us the required breather to pursue other initiatives and possible opportunities. How that bond was scuttled by detractors of the State including Sen. Ibikunle Amosun who took newspaper advertisements to label the bond - “bond of bondage” and promised never to take any loan or bond if elected as governor of the State is now history but our people have come to know better!
i. Conclusively, it is high time that Senator Amosun-led administration in Ogun State lay to rest its scornful hunting for what is non-existent in GHL or other ministries and agencies of the state government during the interval under consideration. It must be stated for the umpteenth time that, GHL has been one of the most investigated of all MDA's in Ogun state since the advent of the Amosun regime. The investigation commenced with the forensic audit by the respectable firm of Ernst and Young to due diligence review by RiverBank Capital Ltd; costing Ogun State millions of naira of our taxpayers’ money. I challenge Senator Ibikunle Amosun administration to publish the report highlighting where any fund was said to be missing in Gateway Holdings by any of these firms.
j. Finally, I reiterate that Amosun administration is just chasing shadows and searching for what is not lost all over the place but Ogun people are no longer fooled by the constant noise of debts owed by the previous government while the Amosun regime is daily piling humongous debts & contingent liabilities and currently immersed in a systemic pilfering of our collective patrimony on the altar of self-aggrandizing projects. Ogun people will not continue to be taken for a ride by a totalitarian and Machiavellian regime bent on repaying the masses with evil for the electoral goodies given the governor in 2011.