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Clergy prays court to stop alleged harassment from firm

By Guardian Nigeria
07 December 2021   |   4:00 am
A clergy and IT expert, Pastor Anthony Afuye-Cyrus has prayed the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere to perpetually restrain Veritas Registrars Ltd from allegedly harassing, intimidating or threatening him.

Lagos high court, Igbosere. Photo/wikipedia

• Allegation is false, defendant says
A clergy and IT expert, Pastor Anthony Afuye-Cyrus has prayed the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere to perpetually restrain Veritas Registrars Ltd from allegedly harassing, intimidating or threatening him.

According to the applicant, he left the firm’s employment as the InfoTech Head in 2019, but following his petition alleging fraud in share transactions handled by the firm, he had been subjected to harassment and threats.

He further sought an order compelling the firm to pay him severance benefits and end of service entitlements accruing to his position as the firm’s head of Infotech.

Veritas Registrars is said to be a subsidiary of a new generation bank in Nigeria.

But the defendant’s Registrars denied the allegations of harassment or intimidation.

It added that it was neither indebted to the applicant, nor was it a subsidiary of alleged bank.

Afuye-Cyrus made the allegations in a suit marked LD/569/CM/2021 in his statement of claim filed by his counsel, Mr. Nkem Ogonsiegbe.

He alleged that in August 2017, he discovered some irregularities involving massive share capital fraud of rights issues of some corporate organisations occasioned by some top management employees of the defendant.

He said he alerted the defendant’s registrar, who investigated and allegedly confirmed it, but did nothing.

He said the threats and intimidation followed his complaints to bank’s Chief Inspector among others.

“When the applicant realised he had nobody to defend and stand for him and that he was in the midst of adversaries who felt he went too far while trying to protect the defendant..he then decided to leave Veritas Registrars Ltd, to safeguard his life and conscience by tendering his resignation letter dated July 24, 2019,” Afuye-Cyrus said.

He averred that on August 29, 2019, he received two letters, one referencing his resignation and the other informing him that he owed the firm N111,780.30, which he had to liquidate before September 30, 2019 to avoid interest charges.

He further averred that a meeting at Four Point Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on December 15, 2019 “resulted in more threats by the defendant directed to the claimant.”

He prayed the court for a declaration that the claimant deserves compensation rather than persecution for reporting the irregularities, a declaration that the alleged “harassment, coercion, intimidation, victimization and mental torture” led to his pre-mature resignation.”

But Veritas denied the allegations in its statement of defence filed through its counsel, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN), insisting that its staff never harrassed, intimidated or threatened Afuye-Cyrus.

It averred that the applicant did send a petition concerning alleged operational irregularities by some staff of Veritas, but that the issues raised therein, following an investigation, were not established.

“Following a comprehensive investigation conducted by the defendant’s internal Control Unit; no case of fraud was established against the staff accused of irregularities.

“Specifically, the defendant verily believes that it is not in a legal position to declare or establish fraud,” Veritas said.

According to it, the claimant was neither entitled to any severance package not provided in the terms of his employment, nor compensation for the petition alleging the fraud.

It prayed the court to dismiss the suit.

Further hearing in the matter continues on December 10 before Justice Lateefat Okunnu.