Protest at HIPDC is resistance to uncovering past malfeasance, not related to welfare issues – HHL GMD

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• Past administration sold housing units at Mandate III estate to cronies without evidence of payment, amid other scandals

• Says there have been threats to his life, blackmail from various quarters

Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Harmony Holdings Limited, Mallam Abdullahi Abdulmajeed, has explained that the protest early Wednesday at Harmony Investment and Property Development Company (HIPDC) by some staff is not related to welfare issues, but an attempt to frustrate and resist the uncovering of the illegalities, widespread corruption and malfeasance perpetrated by the previous administrations.

The GMD/CEO said this at a meeting with newsmen at the group head office in Ilorin, the state capital on the same day the protest held.

He emphasised that the company does not owe a single month salary at HIPDC despite the numerous challenges his management met on the ground, especially the staggering debt portfolio at Mandate III estate, Ilorin that has hit N1.5 billion, the fraudulent transactions at the Galadimawa estate in Abuja, the backlogs of salaries owed to staff, indebtedness to customers, among others.

According to him, not all staff participated in the protest because they could read it was taking a political dimension some corrupt persons within and outside the system had sponsored to thwart their exposure by various investigative committees.

Abdulmajeed noted that the housing units at Mandate III estate which was built by the Dr Bukola Saraki administration with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) loan were sold to cronies without evidence of payment, adding few cases where payment were even made, they were not in full.

He added cases of construction without permit, transfer of land ownership without consent, building of estate within estate, among other infractions.

This housing project was meant for civil servants but politicians got most part of it amid non-payment which has made HIPDC indebted to FMBN to the tune of N1.5 billion.

The GMD said these mind-boggling discoveries affect these highly placed politicians who reside in the estate and perpetrated the malfeasance in active connivance with some of the workforce who are now instigating the protest at the company.

“You will see that in the protest they did today, leaders of the union were not there. The agitations first appeared like a genuine one to them, not knowing that there were hidden motives behind it. It was when the union leaders discovered this that they also pulled out of the mischievous agenda. We had called for a meeting to discuss the issue of 13th month bonuses and medical allowances which they wanted to use as a cover. One thing you should note is that these are not the main salaries. They are bonuses that should be paid for a company that is truly buoyant. That’s not the case for us at HIPDC and Harmony Holdings as a whole because HIPDC for its part has several customers it is indebted to due to the infractions of the past. They have several other liabilities running into billions of naira. So, our resources clearly would not permit us to prioritize those bonuses yet.

“But despite this, I summoned a meeting to reach what is practicable within available resources to show our good intention. It was at that meeting I was having with the union leaders that the staff you saw protesting today barged in to eject them out one after the other. This shows clearly it was not really about the 13th month bonuses and medical allowances.,” he noted.

The GMD said when he started the investigative exercises that indicted some highly placed politicians along their machinery within HIPDC, he had received many death threats, warnings and blackmail from different quarters.

He however stressed that there is no going back on the uncovering which they sought to thwart, as that is in the best interest of Kwarans who had long awaited justice. He said all those found wanton would be made to pay for their crimes.

He also clarified the case involving Mr Bayo Sanni, a former Executive Director, at Harmony Holdings under the past administration who was found wanton of corruption to the tune of N170 million which the staff made uninformed reference to.

“They also spoke about EFCC taking over the building of Mr Bayo Sanni. Mr Sanni, a former Executive Director at Harmony Holdings under the last administration, was identified as the head of the cartel that recklessly destroyed the organisation. There is no record you won’t find the hands of Mr Sanni wrecking havoc everywhere. At every point in time he was accosted, he would say he did all that he did under the instructions of the former Governor Abdulfatai Ahmed. Our administration had the political will to come and investigate the matter which was just a tip of the iceberg; one out of the numerous cases of corruption they had perpetrated. At the end of the investigation, the EFCC found him wanton to the tune of about N170 million. That’s what they were able to identify at that time.

“A court with valid jurisdiction then took a decision that the asset of Mr Bayo Sanni be confiscated. Unfortunately, our people do not know process via which assets are confiscated. When an asset is confiscated on the basis of a corruption case, EFCC is the plaintiff on behalf of the federal government of Nigeria. So, when the court gave the ruling, they confiscated the asset to the federal government of Nigeria, not to the organisation where the corruption was perpetrated. There is a process via which you are going to take your assets back which we have since initiated through the Office of the Attorney General of Kwara State. The process will require the approval of Mr. President,” he explained.

The Harmony Holdings chief said management took a decision to transfer loyalists of the politicians enmeshed in these mind-boggling infractions who are still in the HIPDC system and were also indicted, to other subsidiaries within the group to allow for a transparent investigation.

He noted however that these persons are responsible for inciting the staff against the management of the holding company, stressing no staff has a right to dictate to management where it would transfer any worker to.

Abdulmajeed assured they were on top of the situation and sanity would be fully restored at the company as it runs under a corporate setting and no exercises that have political undertones would be entertained.

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