Eko Corp Plc, proprietor of Eko Hospitals has promised to endeavour to deliver quality health services. The resolution was reached by a voting poll between the Board members and the shareholders through a shareholders electronic voting poll during the company’s court-ordered Extraordinary General Meeting, EGM, in Lagos.
The meeting was graced by the faces of different regulatory bodies, ranging from Nigerian Stock Exchange to Security & Exchange Commission. A total of 79.34 of the voters voted in support of the sale of the whooping 110,000,000 million shares of the company to Geof Ohen Limited. Just 20.66 objected though. At the end of the exercise attended by the representatives of regulatory bodies such as the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Security & Exchange Commission, SEC, 79.34 percent voted in favour of the resolution.
A few of the aggrieved shareholders resorted to protesting peacefully against the decision at the venue, claiming they were denied their nontransferable right to vote. The Company’s Board Chairman, one Prof. Joe Irukwu, confessed the financial travails of the company, not even when it had been experiencing cash flow challenges. That necessitated the consultation with Dr. Geof Ohen of the beneficiary company for his investment in EKOCORP.
“The company has fallen into difficult times in 2006 and in order to shore up its financial position, she entered into a share purchase agreement with Geoff Ohen Limited to issue its 110,000,000 ordinary shares at N4 each in August 2007.
The amount of N440 000,000 promised by the company was promptly paid on the 3rd of August, 2007. “There has been a dispute relating to the sale of 110,000,000 shares hinging on corporate governance issues. These had led to some court cases by interested persons at various courts and tribunals including the Investment and Securities Tribunals, the Federal High Court, and the Court of Appeal,” he explained.
Talking about the massive approval, he said the resolution was the best, in the best interest of the company
“The Registrar conducted the process and they have no choice but to support it because it is in line with the feelings of most of the directors.
“We made mistakes in the past and now, we are trying to correct the mistakes and the best thing is to follow the decision and use it as a bases for correcting the errors of the past.
In an interview, Chief Medical Director of Eko Hospital, Dr Adegbite Ogunmokun, attested to the divine ordainment, not even when morality had bowed. The said money would go a long way in assisting the company to grow.
The negligible few who objected to the entire arrangement capitalized on disenfranchisement of those who hold the stake and fund the company.
“The protesting shareholders displayed placards with inscriptions ‘Geoff Ohen Where do you get money to invest? Please invest your money somewhere else’ ‘Eneli, Kuku, Obiora Legacy Must Stand’ among others.
“They said that the EGM was an illegal meeting with the intention to formalise the purported take over of the hospital management by some shareholders and board of directors.“
Addressing the newsmen, a shareholder and representative of the Dedicated Shareholders Association of Nigeria, DSAN, Mr Oladimeji Adeleke, called the EGM a show of shame as a good number of shareholders were disenfranchised from participating in the meeting.“
He mentioned that 14.5 percent sharesholdings of late Dr Eneli, one of the founders of Ekocorps and his Estate were deliberately blocked out from participating in the voting on the legality or otherwise of the 110 million private placement.
According to him, “if majority of shareholders, especially those belonging to late Eneli were not disenfranchised of their voting rights, the outcome of the EGM would have been different.“ He said:
“Today’s EGM is not a meeting but a coup against Nigerian shareholders. We can see that the meeting has been stage managed to favour some board of directors.“
”This is a big slap on Nigerians’ face, it shows that the board and management of Ekocoorps have taken us for a ride. It is a daylight robbery.“
”We could see that there is a board crises. The full directors are not present either by person, proxy or virtual. We can see that some founding members of the company are not also present.“
”We can see that some set of people want to hijack what they didn’t work for and want to take over the company from the real owners. We are here to make our intention known in a peaceful protest.“
”As Shareholders we were not allowed into the EGM on the ground that the meeting was for a selected few people and that our names were not on the registered list. I believe our regulators should look into this and do the needful so that justice will prevail.”
“He decried police harassment and intimidation when they were ventilating their anger against the disenfranchisement at the venue.“
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Another shareholder and National Coordinator, Ark of God Shareholders Association, Mrs Efunyemi Ibideyi, attested that the alleged disenfranchisement from the meeting was deliberate and also denial of their rights.“
” I have never seen this type of AGM before. We want our regulators to please look into this. It is like the Board of Directors are hiding some things. Eko hospital is dying because of the crises among the board of directors.“
”Staff salaries can no longer be paid. We are pensioners, we want to reap from our labour.“
”The crisis is really affecting our investment. This meeting is illegal. This meeting cannot stand and all resolutions is null and void,” she said.
Ibideyi finally urged the relevant regulators to wake up, saying “We want the regulator to help save the masses who invested in the company and those the hospital should be serving.”
“Meanwhile, the family of one of the founding fathers, Late Dr Alexander Eneli, said they had written to GTL Registrar and Data Solutions Limited, demanding registration as holders of the shares of the deceased.“
According to the letter, the family stated that the company has for long taken due notice of the transmission of the shares to them in consequence of which one of Uzochukwu Eneli has been appointed director in the place of their late father and has acted as such since 2018.“The family accused some board members of frustrating the exercise of the voting rights of their late father’s shares in order to rig the voting in the EGM in favour of one Geoff Ohen Limited.“
The family said that such a step was to falsely give Geoff Ohen Limited 110 million shares that the courts have willed to them.