Former employees of the defunct Nicon Airways have slammed a bankruptcy suit on its former CEO, Jimoh Ibrahim, and have demanded that he pay them their outstanding salary arrears.
Documents made available to our correspondent indicated that Henry Iwelumo, Lukman Kolawole, George Omoniyi and Eunice Odey, on behalf of over 250 workers, petitioned the Chief Registrar of the court on the bankruptcy claim.
The document emphasized that the salaries and allowances of the ex-workers had not been paid by Mr. Ibrahim since May 2007.
The bankruptcy notice was signed by the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on August 22, 2017.
A copy of the petition filed at registry of Federal High Court Lagos revealed that on September 16, 2013, the National Industrial Court Abuja in Suit No NICON/LA/192/2011 awarded the judgment sum of N1.5bn in favor of the ex-staff of Nicon Airways against Mr. Ibrahim.
Justice Esowe of the National Industry Court, in the September 2013 judgment, lifted the veil of corporate liability of Nicon Airways and held Mr. Ibrahim personally liable for fraud against the former staff of Nicon Airways. The judge directed him to pay the workers’ their unpaid salary arrears and deductions on their salaries, which the company never remitted for their pensions.
Mr. Ibrahim, through his lawyer, Bolaji Ayorinde, filed an appeal against the judgment, which was dismissed on May 23, 2017 by Justice E. N. Agbakoba, who insisted that her court could not be used as an engine of fraud. She directed Mr. Ibrahim to pay the workers.
A lawyer to the workers, Alpheusa Mbah, told our correspondent that the workers had earlier tried to attach the shares of Mr. Ibrahim at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), but alleged that Mr. Ibrahim used his contacts as a former Chairman of the CAC to change the shares to the names of his children.
He explained that a copy of the claim was filed by his lawyer at the National Industrial Court, claiming that Mr. Ibrahim no longer had shares in Nicon Luxury Services Ltd, Nicon Group of Companies Plc, Global Fleet Building Ltd, Global Fleet Oil and Gas, Ltd, Maiden Hotel Ltd and Global Fleet Industries Ltd, among others.
“The workers have now petitioned the Federal High Court for a Receiving Order against Ibrahim and empower the workers to take over his business interests in all companies connected to him. The workers are asking for an order declaring Ibrahim bankrupt,” Mr. Mbah said.
“Also, they petitioned for an order empowering the creditors to sell the debtor’s properties wherever situated or found, either by private treaty or by public auction, to be published in two widely read Nigerian national daily or nationally circulated newspapers.
“They also petitioned for an order granting leave to the creditors to appropriate or otherwise utilize the investments, shares or other interests of the debtor in Global Fleet Oil & Gas Ltd., Nicon Group and any other companies in Nigeria, in partial or full satisfaction of the debt due,” he said.