Former Rep asks Obi to resign over brewery ownership

By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief

ABUJA—Former member of House of Representatives, Mr. Chudi Offodile, has called on Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, to resign from office over alleged conflict of interests on his involvement in the establishment of Intafact Beverages Limited, SABmiller, Onitsha commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday.

This came barely three days after the resignation of the Minister of Power, Prof. Bath Nnaji over issues bordering on a conflict of interests in the on-going privatisation of the Power Holding of Company of Nigeria, PCHN.

Offodile also urged the president not to commission the company, saying that to do so will  amount to an endorsement of what he termed “an illegality”, as the company is allegedly jointly owned by the state government, Next International Ltd owned by Mr. Obi and his family and another company-SABmiller Nigeria Holdings.

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“It would amount to an endorsement of a sordid affair and may embolden other foreigners who design and put into effect, different and newer corruption techniques with government officials. In the history of corruption in Nigeria, the Onitsha brewery scandal will rank as the most brazen”, he alleged while speaking with journalists in Abuja.

Offodile claimed that the investigations he conducted at the Corporate affairs Commission, CAC, revealed that the Obi family owns Next International Ltd and that although the governor claimed he had resigned as a director of the company, his brother, Mr. Ndihe Obi, is the current Managing Director of the company.

He challenged the governor to make public SABmiller’s total capitalisation and how much Next paid for its equity in the new brewery.

The former lawmaker also alleged that the governor revoked the land belonging to International Steel Company, claiming “overriding public interest” only to reallocate it  to the brewery on account of his personal interest in the firm.

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Offodile acting a script — Obi’s aide

However, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Obi on Media and Publicity, Mr. Valentine Obienyem, faulted Offodile’s argument, wondering why somebody would call on a governor that had not done anything contrary to his oath of office to resign.

He said: “If you have been reading the newspapers, you would notice that in the past two months, Offodile who is not known to have made any intellectual contributions in the newspapers, suddenly started to write regularly on Obi. This shows that somebody is calling the tune for him somewhere.”

On the issue of Next International  investing in  SABmiller, Obienyem insisted that Obi resigned his directorship and membership of the Boards of all the companies in which he had interests.

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The spokesman added that Mr. Offodile did not tell the public all that he saw at the CAC because according to him, five other companies, including those owned by a Deltan and a Lagosian have shares in the SABmiller

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