Ogun Ftz: How Not To Do Business In Nigeria (2)

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It was on this basis that the purported Joint Venture of Zhongfu in the zone was duly terminated by Ogun State government, a JVA obtained by fraud, including the Zhongfu’s management of the zone. At this point, it is also necessary to state that by virtue of equity transfer through a public auction, Guangdong New South Group acquired 51per cent stake (controlling interest) in China Africa. Accordingly, the Guangdong Province State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission duly notified the Chinese Consulate in Nigeria of the transfer of shares from China Africa to New South Group; and by a Diplomatic Note dated March 11, 2016, the Economic and Commercial Section of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China notified the Ogun State government of Guangdong New South Group’s acquisition of the controlling interest in China Africa and the need to formally confer management rights on Guangdong New South Group as the  operators/manager of the zone , being the representative of the controlling shareholder.

This also became necessary due to the several indiscretion of Zhongfu International including financial improprieties and poor management of the zone. Accordingly, by a letter dated May 27, 2016, Ogun State government terminated the appointment of Zhongfu as the manager of OGFTZ. Zhongfu was, by this letter, directed to hand over all Ogun Guangdong Free Trade Zone assets in its possession to the Coordinator, Zenith Global Merchant Limited.

It is also very important to state that, contrary to the falsehood being peddled by Mr Han, Zhongfu did not make any investment in the zone. The physical structures erected therein and the amenities therein were put in place by China Africa. On the contrary, Zhongfu depleted the assets and infrastructure they met on ground and up till date, are yet to account for all revenues made during the period of management.

It is therefore no surprise that Zhongfu was only able to express its investment in vague terms in his open letter to the President. Since the termination of Zhongfu’s management of the Zone, the existing investors have registered several complaints on the inability of Zhongfu to address the needs of the investors within the zone. In the same vein, due to the fact that most of the investors within the zone are aware of the managerial pedigree of the New South Group, they have since expressed their support for the new management and readiness to work with the new management under New South Group.

It is also worthy to note that the government of Guangdong Province in Peoples Republic of China is also looking into the activities of Zhongfu within the Zone and in its interface with Ogun State government with a view to deal with them in accordance with the applicable Chinese law. This is because Guangdong Province still owns 49% equity in China Africa.

There is no doubt that both Guangdong New South Group and the Guangdong Province have the capacity to further develop the zone to match standard of the most notable Free Trade Zones in the World. They remain committed to the course and have already begun works to achieve this, because they have a clear plan of achieving this and have the support of both the government of the People’s Republic of China and the Ogun State Government.

It is therefore surprising that rather than give accounts of how it ran the zone for years, Zhongfu has been running from pillar to post, trying to discourage investors from coming to do business in Nigeria.

Before embarking on another fruitless campaign of calumny against the Government and people of Nigeria, Han should please give account of the revenue generated from the Zone under his company’s management, explain why he was collecting revenue into his company’s account ( Zhongfu), instead of Ogun Guangdong Free Trade Zone, why he hid the Entrustment management agreement with China-Africa from the Ogun State Government for years until the Chinese government exposed the deceit.

This is certainly not the way to do business in Nigeria under the Change dispensation!

 esho is an Abeokuta based journalist.


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