Wednesday, December 6, 2023


‘It’s a stunt’ — CSO faults Seplat over criminal suit withdrawal claim

‘It’s a stunt’ — CSO faults Seplat over criminal suit withdrawal claim
April 21
17:35 2023

Make a Difference Initiative (MADI), a civil society and good governance advocacy group, has asked the federal government to resist the pressure to discontinue a suit filed against Seplat Energy Plc and Roger Brown, the chief executive officer (CEO).

On March 3, the federal government revoked Brown’s visa, resident, and work permits following allegations bordering on racism by aggrieved stakeholders of the company.

Subsequently, he stepped down from his position after an ex-parte order stopped him from identifying himself as the CEO of the company.

In the suit marked FHC/AB/CR/149/2023, the defendants were accused of conspiring among themselves to allow Brown to accept employment as chief executive officer at Seplat Energy Plc “without the consent of the comptroller-general of immigration”.


Giving updates on the lawsuit, on Thursday, Basil Omiyi, Seplat board chairman, quoted the notice of withdrawal as saying all the proceedings in the charge were withdrawn.

Omiyi also said the Lagos federal high court had also vacated the ex parte interim orders against himself, Seplat, and Brown.

Reacting in a statement on Friday, Lemmy Ugheghe,  executive director of MADI, described the announcement by Seplat as a “stunt”.


“We state that this cannot be true, as our investigation revealed that the so-called notice of withdrawal/discontinuance did not follow due process of the law and does not have the appropriate approval for such an action,” the statement reads.

“Our investigation further revealed that although the defendants are doing everything possible to thwart the legal proceedings by hook or crook, the criminal charges against Seplat and its offending directors remain live as of today.

“First, how come the notice of discontinuance was dated April 6, 2023, and only surfaced in court on April 19, 2023? This raises more questions than answers.

“Secondly, the purported notice of withdrawal/discontinuance was stamped and dated April 6, 2023, the same date the four-count criminal charge was filed against Seplat and its leadership. Could the same FG be filing the charges and the notice of withdrawal at the same time?


“Thirdly, if the FG actually filed a notice of withdrawal/discontinuance on April 6 as stamped on the suspicious document, how come the four-count criminal charges were served on Seplat on April 11? Why did the FG and the court have to effect the service of a supposedly withdrawn and discontinued lawsuit? 

“Fourthly,  Seplat, its directors, and its CEO’s lawsuit against the Nigerian Immigration Service were heard on April 13. How come the immigration did not inform them or the court that the criminal charges against them had been dropped? Instead, the lawsuit was heard and their prayers not to be arraigned were denied.”

Ugheghe added that “a mere notice does not amount to a dismissal of the case, as the court will need to hear the motion.”

“The federal government must resist all pressure to discontinue the charge as we are aware that Seplat Energy Plc is exploiting the company’s resources to prevail on the government to discontinue the charges against them.


“Government must stand tall and firm in its resolve to bring these officials of Seplat to book.”


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