The government of Kogi State has accused Dangote Industries Limited of “callous and deliberate asset grabbing” but the company countered it, saying that the acquisition of the Obajana cement plant followed due process.
A statement by the state government said that Obajana Cement Company was solely founded in 1992 and owned by the state, which held 100 per cent of its shareholding in trust for its people, long before DIL ventured into the state and longer still before Dangote Cement Plc came into existence.
In a detailed response to Dangote Group’s advertorial, titled, “Separating Facts From Fiction,” the Kogi State Government noted that successive administrations had always invited Dangote Industries Limited and Dangote Cement Plc to prove that the Group paid any for the purported acquisition of Obajana and its alleged 100 per cent ownership, “but each time, DIL and DCP have woefully failed to do so.”
According to the statement, titled, “Separating Acquisition From Asset-Grabbing,” the Kogi State Government disclosed that it took a loan of at least 15 million Deutsche Marks to conduct feasibility assessments, which confirmed the existence of those “vast limestone deposits” that DIL found so enticing years later.
“Sadly, for over a decade after DIL and DCP started posting profits from the operations of the Obajana plant, the Kogi State Government was still labouring to pay off the said loan and interests accruing thereon,” the statement stated further.”
The Kogi State Government said in the interest of truth, it was pertinent to ask the following questions – “How come years after DIL and DCP claim they acquired 100 per cent of the equity and assets of Obajana Cement Plc, Kogi State officials were still listed as shareholders of the company, holding shares for and on behalf of the people of Kogi State in filings made by DIL and DCP at the Corporate Affairs Commission?
“Is the above not evidence that DIL and DCP which do not deny that Kogi State invited them to invest in Obajana Cement Plc in the first place, are lying when they defend their rapacity and duplicity by claiming that Kogi State allegedly abandoned her allotted shares and was subsequently kicked out of the company she founded by them, thereby allegedly extinguishing all rights and interests of Kogi State and her people in the operations of the company?
On Tuesday, Dangote Industries Limited, the parent organisation of Dangote Cement Plc, maintained that the process of acquiring its cement plant located in Obajana, Kogi State followed due process.
According to a statement by DIL, Kogi State had no equity interest in Obajana Cement Plc.
The statement noted that the plant and machinery were conceived, designed, procured, built, and paid for solely by DIL, well after it acquired the shares in Obajana Cement Company.
The company further said that the land on which the Obajana Cement Plant was built was acquired solely by Dangote Industries Limited in 2003, and that taxes were paid to Kogi governmnt yearly since production commenced in 2007.