Nigeria Police has invited Mrs. Olubukunola George, founder of pharmaceutical retail firm, HealthPlus, the subject of an ongoing dispute with her foreign investment partner, Alta Semper Capital LLC UK. George, according to the letter of invitation sighted by this medium, is scheduled to appear at noon on Monday when she is to be quizzed for alleged involvement in “Unlawful Seizure, Conduct Likely to Cause Breach of Peace and Threat to Life”.
Dated 8 October and signed by Musa Adze, Commissioner of Police (Anti-Fraud), FCID, Abuja, the letter read: “This office is investigating the above-mentioned case in which your name has featured prominently. In the light of the above you are requested to interview the Commissioner of Police, Anti-Fraud Section, Force Criminal Investigations Department, Area 10, Abuja through ACP Elaigwu O. Gabriel.”
As of the time of filing this report, it was unclear if George had received the letter.
Police sources said the invitation arose from a petition by Alta Semper Capital with which George has been locked in a dispute for about a year. Sources at the FCID said the foreign equity firm’s inability to take over the company, following its announcement of George’s sack as CEO on 25 September, forced it to adopt other measures. Chief among these, they disclosed, was an attempt by Alta Semper to sack Prudential Guards Limited, the security firm hired by HealthPlus. In a letter dated 28 September and signed by Afsane Jetha and Zachary Fond, both Alta Semper directors, the equity firm said it had terminated the contract of the security firm with immediate effect, ordering it to withdraw its personnel from HealthPlus premises as well as hand over the keys to Jetha and Fond.
George responded to the letter by petitioning the Inspector-General of Police, alleging threat to her life and HealthPlus properties.
Those familiar with the strained relationship between the parties disclosed that they are unsurprised by the police invitation to George. They disclosed that her office was visited by a team of policemen on Thursday while she was not in the office. A HealthPlus source said she could have been arrested if she was in the office and wondered why the police are involved in a purely civil matter. “This is a purely civil matter and it is surprising that the police, especially the anti-fraud unit, are interested. It is even worse that there is a pending injunction restraining our equity partners from what they are doing. They have disregarded the injunction. Hearing of the suit that led to the injuction is billed to resume on Monday. It is telling that the police want her to come on Monday. That they have ignored the pending injunction is also telling, as it suggests they have the backing of one or two influential Nigerians working against a Nigerian business,” he said.
George has retained control of the company because HealthPlus management maintained that there is a pending Federal High Court motion on notice for interlocutory injunction seeking to restrain the directors and shareholders from changing the leadership of the company.