- Mrs. Bukky George first contacted the Zinox Chairman, Leo Stan Ekeh by way of SMS on March 31st, 2020 at 4.13am.
- Ekeh has no investments in HealthPlus or in Alta Semper, its traders.
- Ekeh knew Alta Semper and the funders of the enterprise, made up of credible people, lengthy earlier than he met Mrs. George.
- Alta Semper had approached Konga for a partnership and attainable funding like different multinationals since 2019, ever earlier than Mrs. George approached Ekeh for mentorship and a subsequent mortgage.
- Chidi Okoro is a enterprise chief who Ekeh referred to a worldwide basis lengthy earlier than he met Mrs. George. He had run many profitable multinationals throughout Africa and Ekeh selected to refer him to the inspiration who had wished to nominate a Kenyan for a analysis on FMCG and Pharma associated consultancy. Alta Semper had engaged him for a six months’ transformation train of HealthPlus and this was unknown to Ekeh till he learn of it.
- Ekeh’s solely recommendation to Mrs. George when the difficulty of her tussle together with her traders got here up was to discover a center floor to save lots of her enterprise and to keep away from damaging investor confidence in her nice model – HealthPlus and different Nigerian startups.
The Senior Particular Assistant (SSA) to the Zinox Chairman, Leo Stan Ekeh has cleared the air on the controversy surrounding the troubled Nigerian healthcare agency, HealthPlus and the alleged involvement of Mr. Ekeh, within the firm’s disaster with its traders, Alta Semper, a non-public fairness agency.
The clarification was made public in an in depth assertion signed by Barrister Reginald Obiakor, Mr. Ekeh’s SSA on Authorized Affairs.
Particularly, Ekeh, who disclosed that Mrs. Bukky George, the embattled CEO of HealthPlus, had first reached out to him to mentor her on the 31st of March 2020, revealed that his solely offence was advising her to settle her misunderstanding together with her traders with the intention to save her enterprise and to keep away from damaging the rising investor confidence in Nigerian startups and nothing extra.
‘‘Mr. Ekeh feels extraordinarily unhappy that he has to publicly clarify his enterprise relationship with Mrs. Bukky George, founder and CEO of HealthPlus and her traders – Alta Semper. She is a respectably married lady, a mom and a sound entrepreneur. However it’s essential that we set the data straight for the advantage of posterity. For the data, Mrs. George had first contacted Mr. Ekeh by way of a textual content message at 4.13am on the 31st of March 2020, introducing herself and requesting a time to name him.
‘‘He replied her at 8:45am and requested her to name at 10am. She referred to as and so they spoke. She advised him how she has adopted his very profitable digital entrepreneurial story for years and would really like him to mentor her. She additionally requested that he assists her finance her importation of Private Protecting Gear (PPE) with nicely over $1m and that she may share the revenue with him 50/50. However Mr. Ekeh wished to know somewhat extra about her enterprise earlier than committing funds and she or he spent about half-hour, telling him her life historical past.
‘‘Impressed by her narration, he had advised her she was a miracle little one and that God has destined her for greatness. Certainly, Mr. Ekeh was excited to help her make some funds out there to help her enterprise. The Zinox Chairman is nicely conscious of the challenges confronted by girls entrepreneurs in Africa, how they’re marginalized by the system. His mom, spouse and two daughters are all entrepreneurs, although profitable, however he feels their ache.
‘‘Mrs. George handed throughout her Chinese language contact and Mr. Ekeh forwarded it to his marketing consultant in China. The marketing consultant got here again just a few hours later to tell that the corporate Mrs. George was trying to do enterprise with was into agricultural buying and selling and was not price greater than $250,000. Over the following two days, Mr. Ekeh had spent over three hours, talking to varied contacts in Nigeria and the US on her behalf. On the finish, he had found no PPEs existed. It might have been a catastrophe. Nonetheless, owing to the due diligence he carried out, Mrs. George didn’t lose any cash and she or he thanked him for investigating it.
‘‘A number of days later, Mrs. George requested a mortgage of N2bn to help her enterprise in assembly rising calls for in the course of the extreme months of the COVID-19 pandemic and promised to pay again. She claimed God despatched her to Mr. Ekeh after she did not safe help from some well-known Nigerian Yoruba billionaires (whose names we’ve determined to not point out at this level). At this stage, he had requested for the configuration of her traders since you can not prolong a mortgage to a company physique and not using a Board decision. It was at this level that she talked about her PE traders – Alta Semper and the problems she was having with them.
‘‘The Govt Administration of Alta Semper are well-known to Mr. Ekeh as a result of they wished a partnership with Konga after the corporate introduced the launch of Konga Well being in June final yr. They wished to plug into Konga’s superior expertise infrastructure, regional warehouse community, digital logistics and CBN-licensed fee system.
‘‘In actual fact, her traders are at house in Mr. Ekeh’s UK house and he was snug with the integrity and high quality of the funders of Alta Semper; whilst he famous that they’d enormous sources to fund HealthPlus with out counting on financial institution loans. Consequently, Mr. Ekeh had advised Mrs. George it might be troublesome for him to increase or assure a facility to her, owing to the problems she was having together with her traders as he wanted to safe his funding. He assured her that her traders as majority shareholders have all sources she wanted to show across the firm and he knew them very nicely however thought their funding was in MedPlus Ltd.
‘‘Instantly after that decision, Mr. Ekeh had put a name by means of to the CEO of Alta Semper to ask why they weren’t funding HealthPlus. The CEO had poured out their frustrations with Mrs. George, stating that even to safe a gathering, she wouldn’t choose or return their calls and expressed how disillusioned they have been on the improvement. She assured Mr. Ekeh that they have been prepared to take a position extra money within the enterprise, provided that Mrs. George would respect the phrases of their engagement, and that they wanted extra consolation with respect to company governance points, and so forth. Additional, she pleaded with Mr. Ekeh to assist intervene since Mrs. George appeared to be near him and respects him loads.
‘‘After extracting this dedication from them and talking with their massive boss in Manhattan who’s globally recognized, Mr. Ekeh had spent over a month unsuccessfully making an attempt to persuade Mrs. George on why she ought to discover a center floor together with her traders with the intention to save her enterprise as they have been majority shareholders. He had additionally suggested that the present deadlock with them has the potential of damaging investor confidence in different Nigerian startups.
‘‘Nonetheless, Mrs. George had remained adamant and insisted that she was heading to courtroom.
‘‘Mr. Ekeh had reminded her that no smart one that wished her progress would advise her to battle together with her majority traders on the peak of her fortunes. To additional make her see motive, Mr. Ekeh had invited Mrs. George to his workplace in Victoria Island on August 26, 2020 after her household’s COVID-19 problem. She arrived alone at 11:41am. It is very important state, at this juncture, that this was the primary true bodily assembly between Mr. Ekeh and Mrs. George. Once more, his impression of her at this level was of an excellent entrepreneur with loads of optimistic vitality.
‘‘Mr. Ekeh had spent the following three hours, within the firm of his spouse, Mrs. Chioma Ekeh, pleading with Mrs. George to see motive to not embark on a messy swimsuit together with her traders and the necessity to discover an amicable answer that works for each events. Mr. Ekeh had particularly advised her that entrepreneurs in Nigeria are deprived and reeled out loads of examples to again up his claims in the midst of pleading together with her. Ekeh had advised her that the results of a battle together with her traders would have various detrimental results on her enterprise together with potential withdrawal of suppliers, strain from bankers to get better any current amenities and stoppage of future loans in addition to lack of belief from the worldwide investor group on her model and individual.”
Moreover, he had assured her that God, who had introduced her to date in enterprise, wouldn’t desert her, urging her to use frequent sense.
Within the phrases of Mr. Ekeh: ‘‘I promised to assist her to the most effective of my means for her to succeed. I confided in her that Alta Semper had earlier proven an curiosity in investing in Konga and want to reap the benefits of its enormous sources to scale at a really low entry value throughout Africa and that due to this, I had additionally thought of investing somewhat sum of their African automobile. Alta Semper has enormous investments in Kenya, Morocco and Egypt and I had suggested them so as to add Ghana due to my curiosity.
‘‘As her mentor and as a mark of respect, I advised Mrs. George that I had requested the administration of Konga to droop additional discussions with Alta Semper till they resolved their variations with Mrs. George and HealthPlus. I even went so far as promising some incentives to HealthPlus, all in a bid to discourage her from combating.’’
‘‘Mr. Ekeh had ended the assembly by urging Mrs. George to see the massive alternatives for her, the enterprise and her household. He had additional requested her to hope over the matter and get again to him on her choice. Two days after, she had written Mr. Ekeh to state that she was going forward together with her plan of action in opposition to her traders.
‘‘Thereafter, Mr. Ekeh had acknowledged her response, whilst he additional implored her to rethink her choice for the sake of her enterprise. This was the place Mr. Ekeh had left the topic till our consideration was drawn to the preliminary allegations from Mrs. George that Mr. Ekeh was concerned in a deliberate takeover of her enterprise. We had first dismissed this, solely to be taught that she had written a non-public letter to former President Olusegun Obasanjo – (a person who, as President, honoured Mr. Ekeh as an Icon of Hope and a pleasure to fashionable Nigeria on Nigeria’s Independence Anniversary on October, 1st, 2001) – which she had proceeded to flow into to the press earlier than the previous President even noticed the letter.
‘‘Additionally it is necessary to reply to the allegations that Mr. Ekeh had appointed a sure Chidi Okoro to take over HealthPlus. Mr. Okoro, whom Mrs. George refers to, is a firstclass enterprise chief who’s well-known within the FMCG and Pharmaceutical sectors to Mr. Ekeh for years. He is an excellent Nigerian who has managed profitable multinationals throughout Africa. Mr. Ekeh had first referred Mr. Okoro to a worldwide Well being Basis who have been on the lookout for a confirmed hand for a analysis consultancy in Africa. The Basis was eager to nominate a Kenyan earlier than they took Mr. Ekeh’s recommendation and appointed Mr. Okoro for the function. A month later, they’d referred to as Mr. Ekeh, expressing satisfaction with the selection of Mr. Okoro and effusively appreciating Mr. Ekeh for the referral. To set the data straight, Mr. Ekeh was not knowledgeable or consulted when Alta Semper engaged him on a six months’ consultancy to show round HealthPlus. He had solely heard of it from studies within the media, opposite to the claims by Mrs. George. Mr. Ekeh is for certain Mr. Okoro, at his stage, won’t settle for the CEO place of HealthPlus, after main larger multinationals.
‘‘In closing, Mr. Ekeh feels extremely embarrassed by among the probably libelous allegations made by Mrs. George and believes that she has been very unfair to somebody who had solely meant nicely for her. He expressly authorizes her to publish for public consumption all emails and WhatsApp communication they’d each exchanged. Additionally, he pleads with associates and associates to permit Mrs. George the respect and privateness she deserves as he has realized one other lesson in his entrepreneurship pursuit. He additionally advises startups or these on the lookout for traders to respect agreements entered into for international traders to think about the Nigerian economic system.’’