By Chikodi Okereocha and Gbade Ogunwale
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and co-founder of Integrated Logistics Services Nigeria Limited (Intels) on Monday accused the Federal Government of destroying legitimate business because of politics.
He said the development had forced him to accelerate the sale of his shares in the company over the last five years.
In a statement by his media aide, Paul Ibe, the former vice president said the divestment has assumed greater urgency in the last five years.
According to him, the administration has been preoccupied with destroying a legitimate business that was employing thousands of Nigerians because of politics.
“There should be a marked difference between politics and business. Yes, he has sold his shares in Intels and redirected his investment to other sectors of the economy for returns and creation of jobs,” the statement said.
But Intels said it has severed ties with the former Vice President and his family sold off his shares and exited the company last year.
Its spokesman, Tommaso Ruffinoni, said Atiku, who was one of Intels’ major shareholders, had through his trust named Guernsey Trust International, sold shares of Orlean-Invest Group, Intels parent company, between December 2018 and January 2019, for about $60 million.
“In the period between April and May 2020, Abubakar converted his remaining shares into a convertible bond that he subsequently monetised up to a residual sum of approximately $29 million. When he requested to cash in the above-mentioned sum, our Group contested to Abubakar a debt, towards our Group, of $24.1 million.
“Without having received any answer regarding the matter, on November 30, 2020, Abubakar was informed about the set off of such sum while we made available the remaining sum of $5.4 million. With the completion of the above mentioned transactions, the era of Abubakar family’s involvement with the Group Orlean-Intels is over,” Ruffinoni said.
The statement noted that on Dec. 1, 2020 the Group also terminated its working relationship with Abubakar’s sons, Mr. Adamu Atiku Abubakar and Mr. Aminu Atiku Abubakar.
“Since that date, our Group does not have any contacts, neither direct nor indirect, with members of Abubakar’s family,” Ruffinoni said.