I didn’t embezzle Atiku’s money – Chiahemen

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John Chiahemen
John Chiahemen

JOHN Chiahemen, former chief executive officer, Gotel Media, has denied the reports in the media that he embezzled the company’s funds meant for payment of salaries. He described the allegation as false and libelous, replete with misinformation and misrepresentations.

In a detailed response made available to Realnews, Chiahemen accused Atiku Abubakar, Former Vice-President and his media team of misrepresentation and misinformation in its earlier statement regarding wages owed GOTEL expatriates. He said he never bolted away and explained the circumstances of his departure from the company. He accused Atiku of owing him months of unpaid wages.

“Contrary to the publication, I did not ‘bolt and refuse to make myself available to account for the ‘alleged’  huge resources put in my charge’. I was away on sick leave. The Chairman of the Board was notified of my trip and acknowledged my notification. In my absence, a Board meeting was held in Yola during which I was unceremoniously removed, and an acting Managing Director named to take over. The assertion that I had bolted is totally false and malicious as key Board members knew exactly where I was and were in written and telephone communication with me throughout,” he said.

According to Chiahemen, funds for the media company were never at any time in his custody, but with the financial controller or group financial director of the company. “The allegation that funds meant for the payment of salaries of both local and expatriates staff of Gotel were made available to me is not only false but also malicious. To be clear, funds dedicated to the payment of salaries of the staff were not in my custody. The Group Financial Controller was the paymaster in all matters of funds relating to the Gotel Africa Project. Payroll and operational funds were provided on a month-by-month basis, when they were, by the Financial Controller and my management merely disbursed them.

“The Financial Controller and the Company Secretary has made repeated promises to these former staff since mid-2015 that the arrears would be paid and my physical presence has never been necessary to verify any payments. Indeed, I am in the same class as the other members of staff hired to launch Gotel Africa international news channel as I am also owed salary in arrears of several months.”

Chiahemen also debunked claims that the FCID is investigating the matter. “I am unaware of any petition written to the FCIID (Interpol) against me as I have not been invited by any law enforcement agency on any of the false allegations leveled against my person. All Gotel Africa Management’s financial transactions were made through the bank and the bank statements are available,” he said.

– Jan. 21, 2020 @ 16:25 GMT |

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