Dear Sir/Madam: My name is Mr. Jonathan Okechukwu Obikpo, 60, from Anambra State of Nigeria. Seven years ago, I ran into trouble with my erstwhile employer, Mr. Nessim David Gaon, in his Noga Group of Companies. While I was there, the Noga Group in Nigeria was made up of the following Companies:
1) Nigercafé & Foods (W.A.) Ltd. – RC 4830 (Located at Ikorodu Road, Maryland, Lagos)
2) Afro Continental Nigeria Limited – RC 9226
3) Aprofim Engineering & Construction Nig. Ltd. – RC 16458
4) Noga Hotels Nigeria Ltd. – RC 37036
5) Onisere Rubber Plantation Ltd. (At Ondo State. I don’t recall the Reg. Number)
I was engaged by Aprofim in 1984 when the construction of Nicon Noga Hilton Hotel, Abuja started. Subsequently, I worked for all the other Companies in the Group. However, I am out of the picture now and do not know the current operational status of these Companies.
Mr. Gaon has withheld the balance of my Final Entitlement. I’ve been working on this problem from many angles for 7 years. I have begged him so many times over the years, to no avail. I have written to two Israeli Ambassadors to Nigeria on the issue. I wrote to Amb. Noam Katz. I also wrote to his successor, Amb. Moshe Ram. These gentlemen obviously considered me unworthy of a reply; even a diplomatic courtesy. Mr. Ram is the current Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria and has been all over the place talking about partnering with Nigeria, etc., etc. My calculation before writing to him was that he would be concerned about the conduct of Israelis in Nigeria and persuade Mr. Gaon to settle me, but it seems now that keeping an eye on the treatment meted out to “ordinary” Nigerians by Israelis in Nigeria is not part of their Policy and therefore does not bother His Excellency.
What happened is that six months after I left the employ of Mr. Gaon, he had problems with control and wanted to force me back to his Companies by threatening me while withholding my dues. I resisted this dangerous move by sending SOS outside Nigeria (please see the unedited SOS below) – an action that infuriated Mr. Gaon. I later understood that this action was viewed by Mr. Gaon as more serious than my “original sin”. Subsequently, I begged him through emails to forgive my manner of crying out in self-preservation. The position today is that they have cleared my name (in 2005 via a Certificate of Service) as a person of good character but have not paid me the balance of my Final Entitlement. His current Nigerian representative, Mr. Adetimehin, claimed that they would settle me “soon” but then he stopped picking my GSM calls. I called his MTN (twice) & Zain lines just now (11.20am, 30-Apr-2010) but the lines rang without an answer. Their claim that they do not have money is untrue. I am aware that Mr. Gaon is still earning plenty of money from his rented Noga Housing Estate at Bar Beach, Victoria Island, Lagos, where Mr. Noam Katz lived many years ago.
My family and I have been suffering on account of his refusal to settle me. Now that my fear of poverty in my old age is becoming greater than my fear of Mr. Gaon’s awesome power in Nigeria, I want to pursue this issue by steering the matter into local public view, without the hassles of litigation in Nigeria. In view of Mr. Gaon’s wide influence and the seeming helplessness of my situation, it has crossed my mind to commit suicide with Mr. Gaon’s letters and a suicide Note distributed worldwide but I dismissed that thought and settled for this mode of appeal for now, and take my cue from unfolding events.
Note that all I want is to be paid the balance of my Final Entitlement. I also need from them my PAYE Tax Clearance certificate and documents to process the deductions they made from my Salary in respect of NSITF, now that I am 60 years of age and qualify for Pension. Below is the unedited story which I sent out to the world as SOS. It seems to me that I was saved by that SOS otherwise something could have happened to me.
Please note that Mr. Gaon has since dispensed with the services of Messrs Jacob Maccabi and TGS Rau.
In his last letter to me (below), you will notice that the date there is your System’s date. This is an Auto-Update field and changes with your Computer’s system date. Note that the telephone numbers appearing on the emails and letters may have become obsolete and gone out of use now. The email addresses [email protected] and [email protected] are those of two close members of the Noga Board of Directors. dng is the son, Mr. David Nessim Gaon, and jhg is his Inlaw; Lawyer Joel Herzog. None of these gentlemen replied my emails.
Please evaluate my problem and see if you can assist me to solve it. Mr. Gaon needs little introduction. Just go to Google and type “Nessim Gaon”. Please feel free to let me know if you need further information, documentation, etc.
Thank you, Sir/Madam, for your consideration and esteemed assistance.
* * * * * * *
My name is Mr. Jonathan O. Obikpo (53) and I am from Anambra State in Nigeria. I am now living in Enugu, Enugu State of Nigeria. I worked for Mr. Nessim David Gaon (Swiss Jew) in his Noga Group of Companies, Nigeria between 1984 and 2003 as an Accountant, Internal Auditor, and Computer Manager. All this time, I was located in Lagos, the former Capital City of Nigeria where he has his Head Office (presently at Plot 999d Danmole Street, Off Idejo Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. Telephones: +234 1 2619536, 2616629, 2611175, 2615644). From 1997 and although I am a Nigerian, I lived in the fully furnished Company's Expatriate Staff Quarters, with his other expatriate personnel in Victoria Island, Lagos with my wife and 2 children and was assigned a Company Car+Driver, etc. It is noteworthy that I was the only Black man that was assigned a house in the Expatriate Quarters. The purpose of these details is for you to appreciate the level of trust and regard that Mr. Gaon had for me, based on merit in my variegated work, please.
I have written to some people and organizations but I am not aware that I have received the type of assistance I need, although I am yet to see Mr. Gaon's Police, etc. I remain optimistic, however, that I shall get help before Mr. Gaon and his agents strike.
My troubles started in early 2002, when I asked Mr. Gaon for a Loan (of an amount lower than my Severance Pay at that point) to enable me to build a house in my Home Town, where I planned to retire to. Since then, things were never the same again. Apparently, he thought that I was looking for Capital to start my own business, despite my assurances that I really wanted to use the money to build a house. When I saw that he was not comfortable with giving me Cash, I requested that the Building Construction part of the Noga Group: Aprofim Engineering & Construction Nigeria Ltd., be allowed to assist me in the project, up to the Loan amount. In view of the way I served Mr. Gaon and the relative financial stability of the Company at that time, I clearly expected that he would, at least, comment on the matter but he did not even grant me the courtesy of replying to my repeated pleas.
This started me thinking that I was not doing the perfect thing for my family and I at that point by continuing to serve Mr. Gaon in the dangerous audit work if he could not even comment on a matter of such import in our lives after more than 18 years servitude. I therefore, requested that he retire me, pay me my Terminal Benefits, then reengage me if he wished. The Terms & Conditions of employment specified that one could retire after fifteen (15) years of continuous service and I had served him for over 18 years at that point. However, Mr. Gaon made sure that no Pension Fund existed anywhere in his Nigerian Companies, so that qualification for Retirement and Pension was his sole prerogative.
At the tailend of 2002, Mr. Gaon reemployed one Mr. Jacob MACCABI (Israeli) in the Company. Mr. Maccabi was once his Accountant and acting Managing Director in Nigeria. He left Mr. Gaon's Companies about 1996. At the time he was in the Company, I wrote audit Reports that indicted him, so it is easy to see that he did not like me much. Infact, he was the one that forced me to move my family to Enugu from Lagos in 1994, when he refused to give me a Loan to pay my House Rent at that time following an increase in my 3-Bedroom Flat rent by my Landlord. My appeals to Chairman Nessim D. Gaon to help me with the Loan were not answered but he later allowed me to stay in a Bachelor's Portakabin in one of our Construction Sites here in Lagos. My Landlord served me with a Quit Notice and I had to move my family to Enugu, where they stayed for two and a half years before Mr. Gaon approved that I move into the Company's Staff quarters with my family in 1997, after Mr. Maccabi left the Company.
Mr. TGS Rau (Indian) has been Mr. Gaon's Manager in Lagos for a sometime. I also wrote Audit Reports on his activities. Mr. Gaon may have had reservations about him, which may have led to his being penalized and replaced with Mr. Jacques BIGOURET (French) in the year 2000.
It is to be noted that my job required that I remain neutral with these Officers in order not to sacrifice objectivity, so it was not easy for me to do my job the way it was supposed to be done but I managed to do it, no matter whose Ox was gored. An additional incentive to report faithfully to Mr. Gaon is that he had other people reporting the goings-on in his organization to him. It is true that I deputized for Mr. Jacques Bigouret when he was outside Lagos but I also wrote audit Reports on his activities in Yola, in accordance with my mandate from Mr. Nessim Gaon. I was terribly disturbed when I discovered that Mr. Gaon was sending my Confidential Audit Reports to the affected officers and I complained to him to no avail. Usually, Mr. Gaon would later settle with these Officers and blame me. I was always the Scapegoat. I suffered these dangerous betrayals by Mr. Gaon in silence because I was afraid of incurring his displeasure and did not want to do anything to jeopardize my Retirement and Pension for which I had worked so hard and took risks all these years.
These two officers: Messrs Rau and Maccabi, were the people that Mr. Gaon handed me over to, when he decided that I should leave his Companies. Mr. Rau under-calculated my Gratuity and made illegal deductions therefrom, accusing me of collecting excess Leave Pay. Mr. Maccabi was the one that broke my office door with his foot in December 2002, when I locked it in the course of evading his trouble, after he formed the habit of leaving Mr. Rau's office and all the facilities therein and preferred to use my office and the facilities. He refused to use an office prepared for him. He had earlier disconnected the Telephone extension to my official quarters, which I was using before his arrival.
On 01-Jan-2003, I started my 2002 Annual Leave. As soon as I started, my activities and financial transactions in Lagos on behalf of Mr. Jacques Bigouret were carefully extracted and scrutinized by Messrs Rau and Maccabi. They obviously failed to find anything incriminating against me. It was during my Leave that I received a Circular from Mr. Gaon to all Officers including myself, to the effect that the entire 3rd Floor housing my Office, the Accounts and Secretary's offices should be vacated and that I should move into a room downstairs with my Assistant and leave behind the Computer, Fax Machine, Telephone, etc. I requested from Mr. Rau, who was now in charge of Lagos Office, to give me the Key to the new office and to recall me from Leave but he said that Mr. Gaon's instructions were unexecutable because there was no place for the other people from the 3rd Floor to stay and that I should hold-on for further clarification from Mr. Gaon. I was still on Leave in the middle of February 2003 when Mr. Rau wrote a letter to me, in which he said that he accepted my so-called Resignation on 05-Mar-2003. I refused to accept the letter and on the following day, he wrote another letter in which he said that the instruction to serve me the letter accepting my Resignation was from Mr. Gaon. According to the letter, I should arrange a handover of my duties and official quarters and vacate the quarters on or before 10-Mar-2003 (my birthdate).
I sent an email to the Chairman Gaon seeking clarification of this action and he confirmed issuing the instructions, saying that the reason was that I questioned his orders to vacate my office and that this caused a lowering of his operations. He refused to listen to my explanations that I was not given the Key to the new office by Mr. Rau nor was I recalled from Leave by Mr. Rau as he was supposed to do. Please note that none of the people on the 3rd Floor moved. My Assistant who was now supposed to share the same office with me downstairs never moved from the 3rd Floor either.
After they served me with a letter asking me to hand over my office and house, they restricted my movement with the Company Car and when I complained to Mr. Gaon, he said that he investigated with his officers and found that it was incorrect. Thereafter, they allowed me to use the Car but had the Security Personnel search it each time I wanted to drive out, apparently to make sure that I did not steal any Company property. I complained again to Mr. Gaon but there was no reply from him. However, the searching stopped thereafter. My children were still in school so I had to plead with Mr. Gaon to allow me to vacate the Company quarters by 15-Apr-2003, when they would have closed from school for the second term.
So I obeyed all the instructions, handed over my office, official quarters and all Company property in my possession. This was completed on 03-Mar-2003 as they specified but they did not pay me as expected. On 10-Mar-2003, they had still not paid me. Instead, Mr. Maccabi called me to the Office to show him some things on the Computers. I went to the office and showed him whatever he wanted to know. Thereafter, he and Mr. Rau said that Mr. Gaon had approved my request for an extension of time for packing out of my official quarters. I asked about my Payoff but they said that Mr. Gaon had not approved it. I asked about the Calculations of my payoff and they said that Mr. Gaon had not approved it as well. I sent email to Mr. Gaon begging him to instruct his officers to release my calculations and pay me off. They finally released their Calculations on 04-Apr-2003 and asked me to sign it. I refused to sign it as presented but commented on it that the deductions they made were wrong. In addition, they did not monetize my Benefits in Kind, as all Final Entitlements are calculated on Gross Emolument. I sent an email to Mr. Gaon complaining about the deductions but he did not reply. I did not make an issue of monetization of my Benefits in Kind because I did not want to jeopardize my requests to be Retired and placed on Pension and/or to be reengaged in Enugu, which were still before Mr. Gaon for consideration. For the same reason, I did not insist on my rights, make any trouble nor fight with anybody as many people expected.
I have taken your time to tell the story above so that you would have a clear picture of the background against which Mr. Gaon is carrying-on his campaign against me for reasons best known to him. As it is, life is not a bed of roses for me and after all I suffered in Mr. Gaon's Companies, I am trying my best to live the rest of my life without friction with anyone. Even now that Mr. Gaon has robbed me of my cherished Retirement and Pension for which I put up gallant fights on his behalf and is additionally now trying to dispossess me of my Gratuity sweat, I did not want to respond to his provocations, knowing his power in Nigeria. I would still have begged him until he paid me but now that he has descended low to add the dimension of concocting untrue stories seeking to destroy me and/or my credibility, he leaves me with no other option than to cry out for help.
While in Mr. Gaon's employ and after I left, I kept his trade-secrets secret. Even now that it seems Mr. Gaon prefers to wash his dirty Linen in public in a bid to tarnish my image and justify his strange actions, it is with constraint that I make a couple of revelations in self-defense as well as write on Mr. Gaon's actions and proposed actions following his untrue allegations against me. By way of further explanation of my predicament, I now forward to you our recent exchanges of correspondence, including his frightening letter curiously dated 20-Oct-2003 but sent to my Yahoo email address on 16-Oct-2003.
Please note carefully that my aim of writing is that you may please assist me in any way you can to bring about a situation whereby Mr. Gaon would be persuaded to stop persecuting me and pay me the balance of my Final Entitlement, and based on the correct calculations.
For security reasons, my present contact medium is through my Yahoo email address or Cell Phone No.: +234 802 358 9524 (Dial from Nigeria: 08023589524).
Thank you Sir/Madam for your esteemed consideration.
jonathan obikpo <[email protected]> wrote:
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 09:42:07 +0100 (BST)
From: jonathan obikpo
Subject: SOS FOR HELP
To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
To: Mr. Nessim D. Gaon
From: Jonathan O. Obikpo
I am in receipt of your email sent to my Yahoo Box today: Thu 16-Oct-2003 to which you attached a letter surprisingly dated Mon 20-Oct-2003, in which you accuse me, inter alia, of lying to you all through the over nineteen years that I served you.
My answer is that I told you the truth all through the years that I served you. Now that this matter is on the Internet, you want to paint me as black as possible and you say that you will set your Nigerian Officers, your Lawyers and the Police against me. I have to appeal to the whole world and see if there is someone out there who can save me from you and your formidable Nigerian machinery.
You said that I also lied about contacting Mr. Bigouret and you still accuse me of complicity in the alleged looting of your Companies by Mr. Bigouret.
My answer is that I did not lie to you about not contacting Mr. Bigouret. What I said is that the last time I contacted Mr. Bigouret in any way was when I gave him my Mobile Phone number. This was at the end of April 2003 or thereabouts. This was about the same time I gave your Lagos Officers the same Mobile Phone Number. I also state that I did not loot your Companies nor plan to loot it, whether with Mr. Bigouret or with any other person, dead or alive. I do not understand how you want me to confess to what I did not do and ask for clemency for same.
You say that you have to pass my letter to you and your letter to me to your Lawyers, your Officers in Lagos; Messrs TGS Rau and J. Maccabi.
My answer is that we naturally expect that they would pass all the letters and all the Reports to the Police. As you have the advantage of having all the letters (yours and mine), my Weekly Reports and my Audit Reports, which ones are you going to pass and which ones are you going to leave out.
You also say that I shall collect the balance of my Entitlement from Mr. Bigouret and reply to the Police.
My answer is that at least you have agreed that you have not settled the balance of my Final Entitlement and that you gave instructions to your Officers to settle me; instructions which they failed to execute in full since March 2003. I do not have Officers, the Police and Lawyers to fight for me. However, I know that there are people out there who have sworn to stand for justice and defend the oppressed against cruelty. I now call on all such people and organizations to please come to my aid before you send me to jail or death for alleged complicity in illegalities that I did not commit, but for asking for my hard-earned and rightful dues.
I do not understand how you can send me your Best Regards with all your false accusations and all that you plan to do to me in reward for serving you honestly and diligently for over 19 years.
Now you have driven me against the wall so before you finish me off, let me use this medium to cry out to all those who receive this email to please come to my aid very quickly before your agents pounce on me, as I do not have anyone to fight for me against this unbelievable injustice and cruelty.
To: "jonathan obikpo"
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 15:51:04 +0200
e-mail resent to you as date mentioned :
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 7:34 PM
real date e-mail was sent to your attention is thursday 16th october, 4 pm Geneva time
----- Original Message -----
To: jonathan obikpo
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 7:34 PM
Compagnie NOGA d'Importation et d'Exportation S.A.
42, rue du Rhône
TEL : (022) 817 36 00 FAX : (022) 817 36 06
DATE : 30/05/2010 REF :NDG/jc Total Number of Pages (Including Header):
FAX No :
NAME : Mr Jonathan Obikpo
Copy to T.G.S. Rau
Mr Jacob Maccabi
(with copies of all previous correspondence)
NAME : Chairman
IF YOU DONT RECEIVE ALL THE PAGES, PLEASE TELEPHONE OR TELEX IMMEDIATELY