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Shareholders Laud Transcorp Hotels’ performance, Approve dividend payment

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Transcorp Hotels Plc has announced a profit after tax of N4b at its 3rd Annual General Meeting which took place at Transcorp Hilton Abuja. At the meeting, the Shareholders of Transcorp Hotels Plc   commended the management and staff of the Company for recording a strong financial and operational performance in the financial year ended 31st December 2016, with improvements across all indices despite the economic recession which took a hefty toll on hospitality businesses generally.

The Shareholders gave the commendation at the 3rd Annual General Meeting of the Company held at Transcorp Hilton Abuja on Wednesday March 15, 2017, attributing the feat to the quality of Transcorp Hilton Hotel as the leading hospitality destination in Nigeria. They also described the management of the Company as visionary and dedicated, as demonstrated by the Hotel’s constantly improving quality of service.

The Shareholders unanimously approved the Board’s recommendation of a final dividend of 40 kobo per share, stating that they are confident that as the Company continues to make progress, it will not relent in meeting their expectations.

Speaking on behalf of shareholders, Mr. Boniface Okezie, Chairman, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), expressed appreciation to the Company’s Board and Management for paying dividend at a period when the country’s economy is in dire straits, leading to significant drop in hotel occupancy. He said, “At a time when a lot of companies prefer to cut dividend with a ready excuse in the current state of the economy, we are delighted that our Company has paid dividend which will go a long way in meeting our financial needs”.

Also speaking, AlhajiMuktarMuktar, President, Trusted Shareholders Association, commended Transcorp Hotels for what he termed “a stellar financial performance” amid a challenging period and the dividend payout which he said was equally laudable. According to Muktar, Transcorp Hotels has not relented on its oars and has continued to shine brightly delivering world class service to an ever growing clientele of top notch guests across the world. Little wonder it has consistently won numerous awards and most recently bagged a long list of honours in 2016 that will make even its competitors go green with envy. “We are proud of this achievement and encourage the MD and the Board to continue in this direction”. At this point, the shareholders gave a standing ovation to the MD/ CEO  for not just winning the Seven Stars 2016 CEO of the Year at a global event, but for also leading Transcorp Hilton to win the Seven Stars Seal of Excellence Award for the first time.

Earlier, Chairman of the Company, Olorogun O’tega Emerhor explained to shareholders that the strong performance recorded by the Company is because the Company continued to re-invent its offerings, in keeping with service excellence. He noted that the Company was relentless in maintaining market leadership in its flagship property, closing the year with an occupancy of 60%, well ahead of competition. This according to him ensured Transcorp Hotels delivered a resilient performance even in the face of the impact of economic recession on the hospitality industry which has seen occupancy for large hotels dropping below 35%.

“2016 was a year of notable achievements for Transcorp Hotels Plc, despite the strong economic headwinds. The upgrade of Transcorp Hilton Abuja is underway in line with our commitment to stakeholders to build Africa’s choice hospitality assets”, Emerhor said.

He noted that, in validation of Transcorp Hilton Abuja as the prime hotel property in Abuja, the Hotel won numerous awards in 2016 and for the fourth year in a row emerged the proud recipient of five prestigious awards at the 23rd World Travel Awards; the laurels include Africa’s Leading Business Hotel; Nigeria’s Leading Business Hotel, Nigeria’s Leading Hotel and Nigeria’s Leading Hotel Suite (the Presidential Suite). The World Travel Award is recognized globally as the hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which others aspire. The Hotel also went on to clinch the 2016 TripAdvisor Travellers’Choice Awards and the 2016 Seven Stars Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle awards, Emerhor said.

In his review of the 2016 results, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Hotels Plc, Mr. Valentine Ozigbo said that the Company recorded a 10 percent growth in gross revenue at N15.31bn as against N13.98bn in 2015.  This according to him was largely driven by key events including visits by very high profile guests, many foreign heads of government and representatives of consulates. All this he said was due to aggressive business development.

He said the Company recorded a Profit Before Tax of N5.24bn in 2016, maintaining 2015 performance of N5.38bn while the Profit After Tax for the year surpassed 2015 performance of N3.5bn by 17 percent to N4.10bn in 2016. “Our major priority now is creating value for our stakeholders, improving customer service for our guests and maximizing shareholder value, and we believe very strongly that the foundation that we are laying, with the current upgrade and refurbishment of the Transcorp Hilton Abuja and repositioning of Transcorp Hotels Calabar, is certain to yield very positive results.” He said.

“On this premise, I am happy to add that our turnaround initiatives for Transcorp Hotels Calabar are equally paying off as the Hotel recorded laudable profit for the first time since 2012”. This development, he explained, was predicated on strategy of increasing occupancy and proactive cost management” Ozigbo stated.

Speaking on 2017 prospects, Mr. Ozigbo maintained that the Company will keep up with the tempo to sustain the financial performance in 2017, despite the impacts of the temporary airport closure. He also confirmed that the Company is on track to deliver on the ongoing upgrade of Transcorp Hilton Abuja as preparations get on for the 30th anniversary of the Hotel in the 2nd quarter of this year.

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More Troubles For Umo Eno As Court Rejects Stay-of-execution Request

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday dismissed an application filed by Pastor Umo Eno seeking a stay-of-execution of the Order which had nullified his nomination as the PDP governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State.

The court which nullified Eno’s nomination, ordered that he should be replaced with Rt. Hon. Michael Enyong as the authentic PDP candidate.

In throwing out the request for stay of execution, the Court ruled that Umo Eno was never a party to the case filed by Enyong, and so his request could not be entertained by the COurt. The court therefore described Umo Eno as ‘’meddlesome interloper’’ for seeking to file an application in a matter he was never a party of.

Recall that in a judgement delivered on January 20, Justice Fadima Aminu of the FHC, Abuja, had ordered the PDP to submit Enyong’s name to INEC as its candidate. In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1295/2022 filed in August, Enyong had submitted that he won the party’s primary held on May 25. The defendant in the case was PDP. Enyong did not join Eno as a party in his case. How clever!

This means that it is only the PDP that has the locus to file an appeal or stay of execution application against the judgement which sacked Eno. So far, the PDP’s National Legal Adviser (NLA) is not willing to participate in the matter especially since he was never carried along in all the Umo Eno legal matters. Rather, the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the Party had always engaged Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem (the former NLA) as its legal counsel, totally sidelining the current National Legal Adviser. Recall also that the PDP National Legal Adviser had a few weeks ago issued a public statement announcing that it is only the NLA that has the authority to brief and engage lawyers holding briefs for the party. The public statement had also warned party members to desist from engaging lawyers without his knowledge.

Meantime, I understand that Enyong’s lawyers had served INEC with the Court order and his name would soon be published by the electoral umpire as PDP’s authentic governorship candidate.

My Take:

1. The chances of Umo Eno returning to his former status as the governorship candidate is very, very slim. It probably will not happen.

2. Gov. Udom Emmanuel and the PDP have yet to come to terms with the fact that Umo Eno’s name has been deleted as the candidate. They are inconsolable in anger, grief and pain. ‘’They are experiencing a great sense of separation, akin to the overwhelming feeling of loss which one experiences when he is bereaved’’, says a political analyst and business man, Elder Aniefiok Isatt.

3. This development is also the greatest setback and the most devastating blow the PDP has ever suffered in the state since 1999. This case might just be some kind of ‘’Nunc Dimittis’’ for the PDP in the State.

4. Privatively, PDP stalwarts are quick to blame the governor for the woes that has befallen the party this season. They believe that by imposing a very unpopular person as the candidate, the governor had bruised and hurt the majority of the members.

5. The question many are pondering is: Will Udom Emmanuel take to Enyong and accept him as the PDP candidate, thus conceding that Umo Eno was never God’s revelation, contrary to what he told the people; or will the governor leave Enyong to his own devices and embrace a different person?

 

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Our Client Wanted To Say ‘Pupsy’, Not Her Private Parts — Lawyer Defends Embattled Nigerian Polytechnic Female Graduate

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Barrister Ikechukwu Nwaopara, a legal practitioner representing the interest of Sharon Ogechi Okoroafor, the graduating student of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri, Imo State, who went viral on social media for saying that she graduated with the help of God and her private parts, has said his client was misinterpreted.

The lawyer, who made the appeal to the institution’s management in a statement made available to newsmen, claimed that their client had no intention of disparaging the institution’s reputation, standards or integrity.

The statement reads: “We are solicitors to OKOROAFOR OGECHI SHARON (our client under our Pro Bono (Free Legal Services) on whose behalf we write this memo to you.

“We are aware that she will be facing the school disciplinary panel this morning, and we wish to use this medium to express our confidence that the panel will carry out their duties in compliance with the principles of Fair hearing, good conscience and natural justice, devoid of harassment, intimidation, and threats.

“We have met and discussed with our Client and evidence before us shows that she has no intention to defame the character, standard and integrity of the institution. In her words what happened in the said viral video was a slip of tongue as a result of her uncontrollable ecstasy over her graduation. Her intended words were “God and Pupsy” in appreciation of the Almighty God and her dad.

“It is clear, therefore, that she had no intention whatsoever to use such a “foul word” in the said viral video to cajole or blackmail the institution, as no lecturer or name of the institution was mentioned or referred to in the said viral video.

“Our lawyers are already on ground at the institution now to follow up the proceedings at the panel against any form of intimidation or harassment. The integrity and standard of the said institution is not in doubt especially since my senior brother, Rev Dr Arimanwa took over as the Rector. Indeed, justice is for all parties.”

We had reported that after Sharon’s video went viral on the internet, the management of the institution announced that it would investigate her action as it was capable of dragging the reputation of the school to the mud.

 

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Alleged N1.4bn Fraud: Witness Reveals How Kogi Assembly Candidate, Atumeyi Fraudulently Benefitted N681m from Union Bank Customers’ Accounts

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The first prosecution witness, PW1, Olusegun Falola, in the ongoing trial of Ismaila Yousouf Atumeyi, a Kogi State House of Assembly candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, and two others, on Monday, January 31, 2023, told Justice Tijani Ringim of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos how the sum of N681m (Six Hundred and Eighty-one Million Naira) was paid into Atumeyi’s business account.

Atumeyi is standing trial alongside Ngene Joshua Dominic and Abdulmalik Salau, a former employee of Union Bank Plc, on an 18-count charge bordering on alleged cybercrime and money laundering to the tune of N1.4bn.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, Falola, an Internal Auditor and Team Lead, General Investigations, Union Bank Plc, told the court that “sometime in October 2022, during the periodic internal review of accounts of customers, we observed that some accounts that were placed on No-debit were debited.

“In the course of our review, it was observed that the methodology employed in debiting the said accounts was different from the way accounts are being debited in the normal banking activity.

“Based on this, the case was assigned to me for further internal investigation. During the review, I observed that beyond the few accounts that were referred to me for investigation, there were other numerous accounts that were being debited.

“Furthermore, the debits on these accounts were traced to two beneficiaries, Atus Homes Limited account and Fav Oil and Gas Limited.

“These two accounts received the sum of N681m and N1.38bn, respectively from the account of 429 customers.”

He also told the court that further investigations revealed that Atumeyi is the signatory to the Atus Homes Limited account, while the signatories to Fav Oil and Gas are Shuaibu Yusuf and Nurudeen.

According to him, all illicit debits on the customers’ accounts were done via internet banking on one of the bank’s platforms known as Union 360.

Giving further testimony, he said: “As at the time of investigation, over 600m had been withdrawn from the account of Atus Homes Limited and over N800m withdrawn from Fav Oil and Gas.

“We also realized that they were able to make those fraudulent transfers because the bank system was fraudulently manipulated.

“It was this realization that made us know that only a person with privileged information on the bank’s information technology could have carried out such illicit transactions.

“It was based on that knowledge that we reported the matter to the EFCC for further investigation.”

Oyedepo sought to tender the petition written to the EFCC, the correspondences between EFCC and the bank as well as the defendants’ statements of account that had been identified by the PW1.

However, counsel to the third defendant, Babatunde Ogunwo, objected to the admissibility of the attached statement of account on the grounds that the prosecution had not sufficiently complied with Section 84 (2) 2(4) of the Evidence Act.

“I strongly believe that the prosecution has not satisfied the provisions of Section 84 (2) 2(4) of the Evidence Act. All I heard the witness say is questions put to him by the prosecution.

“However Section 84(2) of the Evidence Act gives conditions more than what the witness has stated.

“There are four legs as stated by the Evidence Act and the witness has only answered one. These conditions have to be complied with.

“I humbly submit that the prosecution has not complied with the conditions stated for the admissibility of the statements of account”, Ogunwo argued.

Responding, Oyedepo said that the argument of the defence counsel was misconceived and also missed its target.

He, therefore, urged the court to discountenance the objection of the defence.

He also submitted that the certificate of identification as enshrined in the Section of the Evidence Act “is not a ritual that must be performed in achieving admissibility of computer-generated evidences.”

He further argued that “where the issue is as to the failure to comply with procedural steps towards admissibility, the order the court will make is not to reject the document, but to urge the tendering party to regularize.

“This document is relevant in the determination of this matter and I urge my Lord to so hold.”

In a short ruling, Justice Ringim overruled the objection of the defence and admitted the evidence in exhibit.

Justice Ringim also granted the second defendant, Dominic, bail on the same terms of the 3rd defendant, as granted on January 6, 2023.

The matter was adjourned to February 2, 2023 for continuation of trial.

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