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Our business grounded, firm tells workers

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Emeka Offor

Following the threat to commence legal action against Chrome Group over alleged indebtedness to staff, the company has said its business is ‘grounded’ since September 2015 due to the economic meltdown.

The company, which is owned by billionaire businessman, Chief Emeka Offor made the clarification in a letter written by its counsel, Jeph Njikonye, challenging debt claims by its workers, made on their behalf by Falana and Falana chambers running into N1.1billion.

Njikonye who described the allegations as bogus said: “Sequel to the general economic meltdown and recession in the federal republic of Nigeria, our clients businesses suffered frustration commencing from March 2015 and grounded to a halt in September, 2015. Consequently, our client had no job to execute and closed office starting from September 2015.

“It is reasonably inferable from the circumstances above that contracts of employment of staff were consequentially discharged by frustration since office closed and there was no job going on or tasks performed by staff.

“If our clients businesses revive as our client hopes they will, our client will determine whom to re-engage as staff and what terms and conditions such re-engagement will be.”

Samuel Ogala of Falana and Falana’s chamber had in their letter to Offor on behalf of the affected workers, demanded for the immediate payment of all the outstanding salaries and remittance of all statutory deductions owned since July 2015 till date.

They also demanded that Chrome group act fast as to meet their client’s demand because they have the instruction to commence a legal action against the company and also petition the company to the various government agencies whose laws they have ‘consistently breached by failing to remit the deducted pension, PAYE and health insurance’.

The letter stated that the sum of N1, 139,806,054.94 representing the outstanding salaries and wages of the workers between the period of September 2015 and August 2017 be immediately paid.

“All pension deductions and contributions outstanding to staff from July 2015 to 31st August 2017 totally N244, 172,464.80 be remitted to the respective pension fund administrators on or before August 31, 2017.

“All payee tax deducted from staff payroll from July 2015 to August 2017 totaling N153, 775, 382.58 be remitted to the respective states/FCT Internal revenue board on or before August 31, 2017.

“The sum of N579, 219, 429.58 being the disengagement benefits of our clients as at 31st August 2017 be paid to the respective staff bank accounts,” Ogala had demanded.



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