By Emma Okonji
The Courier and Logistics Regulatory Department (CLRD) of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), has announced that it has uncovered some of the shady deals going on at the Nigerian capital market, involving some company registrars.
The recent exposure was about a shady deal involving a Registrar to an old generation bank, who allegedly contracted a business worth N15 million to a courier company, Big Courier Limited, alleged to be an illegal operator.
It was learnt that the operating license of the courier company had been revoked by CLRD since 2018.
The said business was about the processing of the 2020 Annual Reports of a quoted company in the oil and gas sector, worth N15 million, handed over to the courier company by the Registrar, in preparation for the 52nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the oil and gas firm, which held on August 3rd, 2021 in Lagos.
An arm of NIPOST, CLRD is responsible for the registration, regulation and monitoring of courier operations in Nigeria.
The Postmaster General of the federation, Dr. Ismail Adebayo Adewusi, who was informed of the shady deal, was said to have been unpleased with the development and has involved the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to further investigate the matter.
The ugly development in the Capital Market, prompted the raid of the courier company, located in Ikeja, Lagos, at the weekend, by the enforcement team of CLRD.
Led by the Assistant General Manager in charge of Ethics, Complain and Strategy at CLRD, Mr. Worimegbe Banks, in company of Police officers from FCIID, Alagbon, Lagos, the enforcement team raided the premises of Big Courier Limited, arrested the manager and went away with courier documents, including a dispatch motorbike belonging to the firm. The documents include: receipt booklets, bundles of 2020 Annual Reports booklets belonging to MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, cartons of Huawei USB, files, registration book, among others.
General Manager, CLRD, Mr. Gideon Shonde, who gave details of the raid and why it was carried out, said the clampdown was a major breakthrough for NIPOST in the fight against illegal and unlicensed courier operations in Lagos State.
According to him, the courier firm had been under surveillance for illegal operation for six years after refusing to validate its operating license since 2013.
“The operating license of the courier company was eventually revoked in 2018 for default in payment of renewal fee to the tune of N1.9 million. While they were busy processing the Annual Reports of an oil and gas company worth N15 million, the enforcement team of CLRD, clamped down on them. Arrest of its staff was made and an evidence of illegal operation was established, and prosecution will commence in earnest,” Shonde said.
He further said it was worrisome that the Registrar could leave out licensed courier operators, to patronise illegal courier operator, in a sensitive business that has to do with the printing and distribution of a company’s annual financial report to its shareholders, while serving them notice of meeting, despite the fact that CLRD sends the list of licensed courier operators to all Registrars on a monthly basis.
“Illegal courier operators are fund of cutting corners and not delivering on the job.
A clear case could be seen around the bundles of the 2020 annual reports, which the courier firm ought to have delivered to shareholders of the company, at least two weeks before the AGM. What this means is that majority of the shareholders did not get the notice of meeting and the 2020 Annual Reports that supposed to have been delivered to them by the courier company before the date of the AGM,” Shonde said.
He said money must have been paid and the job was not delivered, adding that such shady deal and others have been going on in the Nigerian Capital Market, defrauding the federal government of huge sums of money.