Atiku Reacts to Owing Foreign Employees at GOTEL, Says Fund for Salaries Carted Away

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Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has exlained why some foreign workers employed in his media company, GOTEL are being owed salaries for months. 

There have been reports of the radio and television stations, GOTEL Communications, which belong to Atiku owing members of staff salaries running into months. 

The foreign workers who were recruited from CNN, NPR, CNBC and other reputable networks between 2014 and 2015 accused Atiku of breaching a year’s contract they had with GOTEL as consultants.

They claimed they are owed several months of salaries, running into thousands of dollars.

Reacting to the report, Atiku in a statement signed by his Media Office titled: “Nothing can be further from the truth,” said the money meant for the affected staff members, both local and expatriates, was given to one John Chiahemen who recruited them. 

Atiku explained that Mr Chiahemen was hired in 2013 to “retool” the media outfit and was provided with the fund dedicated to payment of staff salaries, adding that he (Chiahemen) absconded with the money. 

He however advised the affected workers to contact Mr Chiahemen who hired them. 

The statement read in part: “To retool its operations, Gotel had in 2013 hired one Mr. John Chiahemen to lead the planning, design, build-out and rollout of TV Gotel Africa to be based in Abuja.

“To this end, Chiamehen was given a free hand by the founder and board of the company to run the affairs of Gotel.

“Requisite resources, as requested by Chiamehen were made available. On his own part, Chiamehen had committed to a revenue profile of N150 million, among others.

“But by 2016, there were concerns that the Chiamehen management was only long in promises and short in performance, prompting the then board to empanel an ad hoc visitation committee to examine the state of the company. The findings of that committee were damning.

“Consequently, the committee recommended the need for a comprehensive audit of the company. The audit revealed serious fiduciary infractions by the Chiamehen led management.

“Further to the audit report, a board meeting was convened to consider the auditor’s report. However, before that meeting, Mr. John Chiamehen bolted and has refused to make himself available to account for the huge resources put in his charge.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the funds dedicated to the payment of salaries of staff, both local and expatriates that were engaged by Chiamehen himself were made available to him. All those concerned are advised to contact Mr. Chiamehen accordingly.

“On the 14th of December 2016, a formal petition on alleged breach of trust, fraud and misappropriation of funds against the former managing director/CEO was filed at the FCIID (Interpol) for investigation.

“Mr. Chiamehen is encouraged to make himself available to give account of all monies put in his charge during his tenure as MD/CEO of Gotel”.

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