Nigerian Banks, especially in the current #EndSARS environment are jittery over their planned loaning of billions of Naira to BusinessDay Media’s Publisher Frank Aigbogun, to build a vanity project in Ikoyi/Victoria Island called International Conference Centre (ICC).
The Publisher Aigbogun who portrays a carefully cultivated image in public is however enmeshed in Pension fraud to the tune of N435 million owed to current and ex staff of BusinessDay.
The fraud operates in 2 parts.
The first is the situation whereby 18 percent of every staff salary are deducted on a monthly basis but never remitted to the appropriate Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).
The funds are then channeled to the use of Mister Aigbogun on whatever he chooses.
This is against the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and has led to a situation where staff are being owed N493 million in Pension backlogs as at the end of 2019, according to insider sources who provided the data.
The calculation also excludes capital gains and penalties that must be paid by BusinessDay and Aigbogun to his staff (ex and current).
The second arm of the fraud is a situation whereby BusinessDay knowingly receives money in the form of Adverts and contracts from Federal Government (FG) Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Ministry of Agriculture, NITDA, AMCON, Ministry of Water Resources etc, while being in gross violation of PENCOM laws which clearly bars firms that are non-compliant in remitting staff Pensions from doing business with ANY Federal Agency.
PENCOM issues an annual compliance CERTIFICATE to any private sector firm that wishes to get a contract from the Federal Government.
Inquiries at PENCOM revealed that BusinessDay has never been issued such a certificate, so it is illegal for the company to benefit from Government contracts.
Despite the current crises which the media firm is facing, Mr Aigbogun is stubbornly pushing ahead with a plan to borrow billions of Naira from local banks to finance the construction of a vanity project he calls the International Conference Centre (ICC).
Banking sources say it would be foolhardy for any bank to lend money to BusinessDay at this point, until the owner (Aigbogun), clears his almost half a billion Naira of Pension backlogs earned by staff, but illegally withheld and spent by him the Publisher.
BusinessDay insider staff who are mostly unhappy and worked like slaves, said bankers from Polaris Bank were at the Apapa Headquarters (HQ) of the media firm this week seeking to inspect the HQ building for a possible loan deal.
“Any Bank foolish enough to loan BusinessDay money to fund the so called ICC project or receive any assets as collateral from BusinessDay which has Pensions liabilities alone amounting to half a billion Naira, will only have themselves to blame,” an investment banker said.
This comes despite the fact that many laid off BusinessDay staff over the past 15 years have not been paid a kobo in benefits, neither have they been paid their rightful Pensions stolen from them.
One of mister Aigboguns long-suffering staff said: “I have worked here for more than 17 years and I can tell you that the balance in my Pension account is not up to N200,000. It is a shame that the Publisher collects these monies from the Government but does not even deem it fit to pay our meagre Pensions.”
Staff of BusinessDay in the know say, the Publisher Frank Aigbogun has allegedly amassed filthy wealth with properties in the United Kingdom, Banana Island and all over Lagos, on which he scarcely pays any Income tax.
““It is a shame that a media firm that purports to preach to Nigerian companies and government on good governance and corporate governance, is actually two-faced and trying to fool the whole world.
A lesson must be taught to such Publishers and business owners that break laws with impunity and treat their staff worse than slaves,” the MD of a media consulting agency said.