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Globacom managers ‘arrested’ in India for illegal recruitment, not paying ex-employees

Three top staff of one of Nigeria’s telecommunications company, Globacom, are in trouble in India, The Eagle Online is reporting.
The reasons for their trouble are multifaceted, The Eagle Online learnt.
The staff are: Adewale Sangowawa, the Executive Director, Human Resources; Tony Ighalo; and another simply identified as Mr. Donnie.
According to a letter obtained by The Eagle Online from the Office of the Joint Secretary and Protector General of Emigrants, Ministry of External Affairs of India, the Globacom staff were accused among others of engaging in illegal recruitment in the country and failure to pay ex-staff of the company who are Indian nationals.
According to the letter dated December 15, 2016 and signed by M. C. Luther, Sangowawa, Ighalo and Donnie were accused of having entered into India to engage in illegal recruitment.
The letter, which was copied to Ravinder Singh Yadev, the Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), Delhi Police, New Delhi, said the top Globacom staff entered into the country to recruit without meeting the requirements of the Government of India for such.
It said in part: “As per requirement for carrying out overseas recruitment, the Foreign Employer are required to get Demand Letter, etc duly attested by the Indian Diplomatic Mission abroad. And, if a recruitment agency in India is involved that agency has to be registered under Section 10 of Emigration Act, 1983. Those who do not comply with the above and still engage in overseas recruitment activities are not authorized to carry out overseas recruitment business without obtaining a valid Registration Certificate. This requirement is mandatory and any contravention of the same is an offence under Section 10 and 24 of the Emigration Act, 1983.”
The letter, obtained by The Eagle Online on Monday, also accused Globacom of having cheated 40 Indians who came to Nigeria to work for it of their entitlements.
They were said not to have been paid for over 15 months despite repeated demand for the severance package.
The letter by Luther said though the affected staff have lodged complaints against Globacom for failure to pay them, the company was again now in India to recruit another set of staff.
The letter thus advised the Police: “It is imperative that these foreigners be arrested on the charges of violation of provisions of relevant sections of Indian Penal Code and also violation of Section 10 and 24 of the Emigration Act, 1983….
“As the above Foreigners do not meet the above requirement for carrying out overseas recruitment activities, you are requested to kindly get the above illegal recruiters arrested immediately and have the matter thoroughly investigated.”
This was also the position of another letter dated December 22, 2016 by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and signed by Japan Kumer Sao, the Protector of Emigrants.
Sao said since the recruiters did not meet the requirements of the laws in India, action should be taken against them.
Globacom, owned by one of Nigeria’s richest men, Michael Adenuga, has had complaints lodged against it in India by its former employees, who are Indians.
Their grouse, The Eagle Online learnt, is the failure of the company to pay their their entitlements, which they said has been pending for over 15 months.
The former employees were said to have put in between seven and 10 years into the services of the company before their exit.
Their employments, it was gathered, were not just renewed, leading to their exit.
Some of them were said to have left the company on October 23, 2015 without their entitlements paid and outstanding leave for the entire period.
Globacom, according to the employees, issued them letters that they would be paid in lieu of the notice for the non-renewal of their contract.
Several reminders, including emails, letters and telephone calls, to the company for the payment of the outstanding allowances have gone unheeded.
Among those said to have been contacted by the ex-employees, The Eagle Online gathered, were Sangowawa, Gladys Talabi, Bisi Koleosho and Mike Jituboh.
But there has been no response from the company.
The employees thus turned to the Indian High Commission in Abuja for assistance.
However, this has not yielded the desired results as the payments are still being withheld.
Thus when the staff learnt of the arrival of the Globacom team to recruit another set of Indians, they wrote the Ministry of External Affairs, which in turn wrote the police demanding the arrest and trial of the top management staff for cheating and violation of emigration rules on recruiting of Indians.
The Eagle Online learnt that when the team got to Mumbai on December 24, 2016, this was brought to the attention of the Ministry of External Affairs, which directed the police to detain them.
Interrogation by the police revealed that they arrived in India on a visit visa and not business visa, which violates the recruitment act in India.
They were told to produce relevant official documents to carry out further recruitment and told to suspend further interviewing until they present relevant documents and pay the Indian ex-staff their outstanding dues.
No one was readily available from Globacom to respond to the development on Wednesday.
The Eagle Online is also reporting that Globacom is in default of payment to several contractors, including those offering Value Added Services.
In a report with the headline: “Globacom owes service providers over N2b, defies NCC’s directives to pay,” The Eagle Online had reported:
Globacom Nigeria Limited is owing its vendors over N2 billion, The Eagle Online has learnt.
And despite the intervention of the industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, Globacom has refused to pay the vendors who operate under the aegis of the Wireless Applications Services Providers Association of Nigeria.
What has even made it more painful for the WASPAN members is that the Chief Executive Officer of Globacom, Otunba Mike Adenuga, has approved that the money be released to the service providers.
According to documents available to The Eagle Online, Globacom is owing members of WASPAN not less than N2 billion as the total accruals to the Value Added Service providers was yet to be fully computed.
In a petition to the NCC, the WASPAN members said Globacom is owing its members over N2 billion.
In the petition, WASPAN alleged that Globacom refused to pay them the 20 per cent that was to accrue to them from the revenue they generated alongside the company.
This was based on earnings from Value Added Services rendered to Globacom subscribers since 2013 by the WASPAN members.
The petitioners also complained that Globacom has refused to give a detailed log of the services provided by them, which has been consumed, to show how much exactly Globacom owes them.
The members of WASPAN are of the opinion that the debt owed by Globacom, if fully investigated, is far in excess of the N2 billion claimed as the total outstanding by Globacom.
The NCC, on receipt of the petition, had mandated Globacom to produce within 30 days the detailed logs of the services rendered by the vendors and also make immediate payment to the members of WASPAN, who are being owed.
NCC gave Globacom a 30-day ultimatum.
The 30 days ultimatum expired on October 15 without Globacom complying with any of the directives of the NCC.
In an internal memo made available to The Eagle Online, Globacom was said to be owing the vendors N805,022,709 as at December 2014, which remains unpaid till date.
Yet, the service providers said they have not been paid since February 2013.
In another memo cited by The Eagle Online, Adenuga authorised payment to the service providers.
But this is also yet to be complied with.
Even at that, the amount approved for payment from the debt was N208,974,917.
The management of Globacom is claiming that it can only pay a maximum of N200 million to vendors at any time.
Based on the contract signed with the vendors, Globacom earns 80 per cent of the revenue on Value Added Services, while the vendors earn 20 per cent.
Globacom is believed to have made not less than N11.2 billion from the Value Added Services rendered by the vendors.
A member of WASPAN said on the development: “We believe Globacom is relying on its existence as a Nigerian company to influence the decision of the regulatory body as it has done in past dispensations.
“Even the second letter written to Globacom has not made Globacom to pay up because they wrote back to NCC saying that they are working on the payments.
“Globacom is just out to kill Nigerian companies.
“Globacom cannot claim to be verifying the authenticity of the figures because the internal memo by the Marketing Department’s Accountant, Head of Revenue Assurance Department, Head of Internal Audit, the Director of Finance and the Director of Treasury showed that work on the revenue accruable to us had been finalised.”
Efforts to reach the spokesmen of the company since Monday did not succeed.

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