Alleged manipulation of tax : Italian Construction company, Borini Prono, Battles Nigerian Police
A limited liability company Borini Prono & company Nigeria Limited, whose Directors are under investigation over alleged crime of fraudulent practice to cheat the Federal Inland Revenue on tax and to deny contract facilitators of financial entitlement has dragged Inspector General of Police before a Federal high court sitting in Lagos.
The Italian construction company is urging the court to restrain the defendants Police officers from inviting, interrogating, investigating, or detaining the officers of the company Joined as co-respondents in the suit are, The Assistant Inspector General of Police CID zone 2 Police command, The Commissioner of Police CID zone 2 Command,The Assistant Commissioner of Police CID Zone 2 Command, and a Lagos businessman Christopher Uzodike. In an affidavit sworn to by a Director of Borini Prono & Company Nigeria Limited, Paolo Prono of 11 Burma Road,Apapa,Lagos state averred that by invitation letter dated 20th March, 2019 Mr Gianfranco Albertazzi,, the Managing Director of the company was invited by the Zonal monitoring Unit of the Nigerian Police Force Zone 2 Headquarters On 25th of March,2019 he reported at the Zone 2 Police Command, in the company of his lawyer, upon his arrival, he was shown a petition written against him by one Mr Christopher Uzodike on the basis of alleged outstanding contractual indebtedness of his company to him. He was interrogated and was admitted and release on administrative bail and was instructed to return on 2nd of April,2019with documentation in support of the position of his company. He reported as instructed but officer in charge of his case was not available.
However, to his utmost surprise at about 5am on the morning of 3rd April,2019 he was arrested at his residence in Ikoyi, Lagos, by officers from criminal and investigating Department Zone 2 Onikan Lagos and detained on the assertion that he failed to report as instructed. Thereafter joint meeting was held with the petitioner, his lawyer with the officer in charge of the criminal investigation in respect of a second petition and was requested to report back on 10th April,2019. On the 10th of April, he made statement on behalf of the company, and the commissioner in charge of CID after reading the content of the petition of Mr Uzodike and questioning the parties came to the conclusion that the matter related to purely to civil contractual transaction which was outside the purview of the Nigerian Police,therefore he was requested to report back on May 6, 2019, However, he sought the advice of his lawyer, who advice him that, continuous, invitation, interrogation and arrest by the Police at every material time has continued to disrupt business and operation of the company, particularly in respect of critical road construction currently being executed.
Consequently, he urged the court to restrain the defendants from further inviting, interrogating, investigating,or detaining, the Directors, Managers, Secretaries or any officer of the company as Nigerian Police being law enforcement agency, is not empowered to entertain petitions in respect of civil or contractual disputes.
However in a counter affidavit sworn to by Inspector Fidelis Ilobun, Police Officer, serving at Zonal Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Zone 2 Police command, He claimed that he is a member of the Police Team that is investigating criminal allegations against the company captioned Re: FRAUDULENT PRACTICES BY THE FOREIGN COMPANY BORINI PRONO & CO. (NIGERIA) LIMITED. TO CHEAT THE FEDERAL INLAND REVENUE OF TAX AND TO DENY LOCAL PARTNERS AND CONTRACT FACILITATORS OF THEIR HUGE FINANCIAL ENTITLEMENTS, reported to the Assistant Inspector General of Police Criminal investigation Department Zone 2 by a Lagos businessman Mr Christopher Uzodike against the Borini Prono company from which this suit arose.
Inspector Ilobun who claimed to be a member of the Police Team investigating the criminal allegations of fraudulent practice to cheat the Federal Inland Revenue on tax and to deny local partners and contract facilitators of financial entitlements reported to the Assistant Inspector General of Police against the Company stated that in the course of Police investigation of the alleged crime alleged above,
The police invited the officers of the Borini Prono company , namely; Messrs Gianfranco Albertazzi and Mr. Paolo Prono via Police invitation letter dated 29th March, 2019
Mr Albertazzi reported at the Zone 2 Police command on 25th March, 2019 together with his Lawyer, Mr. Remi Dalley, and having read through the petition against the Applicant, volunteered statement to the Police as one of the officers of the company , who acted for it in his dealings with Mr Uzodike , from which the petition to the Police arose
Mr. Albertazzi was granted Police administrative bail and released to his Lawyer who stood as surety for his bail on the same 25th March, 2019, immediately after his statement was made to the Police.
During his response to the criminal allegations made against his company Mr. Albertazzi stated that the relationship which the company had with Uzodike was that he supplied iron rod and cement to the company which they have fully paid for, with invoices for payment dully issued as evidence.
The Police requested Mr. Albertazzi to produce the invoices evidence mentioned by him to the Police in order to assist Police investigation, and he was further requested to report back at the commissioner ‘s office for the interview of the parties, on the 2nd April, 2019, together with Mr. Prono, who failed to honour Police invitation along with Mr. Albertazzi on the said 25th March, 2019
Despite that Albertazzi was duly informed by the Police and also informed in his bail bond executed by him and his surety, to report back to the commissioner’s office on 1st of April,2019.
He failed to honour police invitation on that day.
The failure of Albertazzi to report at the commissioner’s office on 1st of April ,2019,which was in clear violation of his bail bond, led to the cancellation of the commissioner’s interview schedule for both parties in the case, and the interview was therefore rescheduled to 2nd April, 2019.
The rescheduled interview prompted the police to send another invitation letter to messrs Arlbertazzi and Prono on 2nd April,219 requesting them to report at the Commissioner of Police’s office on 2nd April 2019
Mr Albertazzi, and Mr. Prono, again failed to honour police invitation to report on 2nd April,2019, and no police officer informed him that commissioner was not in the office on that day.
The Police did not arrest Mr. Arlbertazzi on 3rd April,2019 or on any other day.
Due to the failure of Albertazzi and Prono to honour Police invitation letter served on them on 1st April,2019 to report on the 2nd April,2019 to find out the reason for his absence, but that 2nd of April,2019, he could not give any reasonable reason for at the instance of Albertazzi and his lawyer, the interview for both parties was rescheduled for 10th April,2019.
Mr Arlbertazzi together with Prono and Uzodike with their lawyers all reported at the commissioner’s office for the interview on 10th April,2019.Prono volunteered statement.
. During the interview section, where Lawyer to both parties were also present, Mr. Arlbertazzi stated that it was iron rod and cement that the petitioner supplied to the company , on which the company duly issued invoices as evidence of supply and payment. This was vehemently denied by Uzodike who maintained he is a contract facilitator to the company, on which the Applicant through Mr .Albertazzi and Mr. Prono, manufactured fraudulent invoices with the sole aim of manipulating the Company’s taxes payable to Federal Government of Nigeria and cheat their contract facilitators.
Based on these new facts discovered during the interview, the commissioner of Police in charge of criminal investigation Department requested the company‘s officers, i.e. Mr .Arlbertazzi and Mr Prono to make the invoices mentioned by them and disputed by Uzordike available to the police, to assist the on-going investigation.
The commissioner did not made any statement that suggest the Uzodike’s petition was a civil contractual transactions. Rather the commissioner requested the company officer i.e. Mr. Arbertazzi and Mr.Prono to make the invoices mentioned by them available to the police, to assist, the on –going investigation ,and directed the police team investigating the case to continue with their investigation and report their findings at the conclusion of their investigation.
Despite Police earlier request and the commissioner’s further request to the company ’s officers, i.e. Mr .Arbertazzi and Mr.Prono, to produce the invoices mentioned by them to the police for investigation so as to unravel the purpose and intent for which the invoices were made by the company, but they blatantly refused to produce the invoices to the police till date.
But since 10th of April, 2019 Mr. Arbertazzi and Prono, has been engaging in ‘hide and seek’ as they have jumped police administrative bail and absconded from investigation, having also failed to produce the alleged invoices to the police for investigation.
The police were still waiting and hoping that Mr.Arbertazzi and Prono will produce the invoices mentioned by them to the police when they received the company ’s suit.
The case reported by Uzodike to the Assisstant Inspector General of Police In charge of Criminal investigation is not a mere civil contractual transactions, but alleged crime of fraudulent practice to cheat the Federal inland Revenue on tax and to deny contract facilitators of financial entitlement.
The alleged manufacturing and manipulation of invoices by the Applicants, Mr.Arlbertazzi and Prono, to cheat Government of taxes and cheat their contract facilitators, are criminal allegations which police has powers to investigate.
No contractual debt was mentioned by the petitioner in his petition to the police and the police is not investigating debt from the company.
The company cannot seek injunction from the court to restrain the police from investigating alleged crime.
The company is not entitle to order of injunction against the Police to stop them from investigating criminal allegations made to them by the petitioner against the Borini Prono company .
The police have not done anything in their investigation of alleged crime reported to them against the company that is out the area and duties of investigation.
The company is not entitled to any damages or cost against the Police who are merely performing their statutory duties of investigation.
The suit and claim against the Police is pre-emptive, speculative, frivolous and aimed mainly to frustrate Police investigation of the alleged crime reported to them.
The Respondents Police officers and the Nigeria Police force will be prejudice if the company’s claim against them is granted by the court because it will stop them from performing their statutory duty of investigation.
Consequently, the respondent Police officers urge the court to dismiss the claim of the company.
”Your mentorship, humility, and resilience was exemplary” Oando Boss, Wale Tinubu Mourns Barkindo
Oando Boss, Wale Tinubu’s Finesse at NOG 2022
Group Chief Executive, Oando Group, Mr. Wale Tinubu, today, Tuesday addressed the ongoing National Oil and Gas conference in Abuja. He is among other top shots in the oil and gas industry that will address the august gathering.
In his characteristic manner the brilliant oil guru mesmerised the audience with his expertise and finesse that earned him deafening applause.
Oando is the Platinum sponsor of NOG Conference 2022.
Other speakers at the event are: Secretary General, OPEC, H.E. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment
Federal Republic of Nigeria, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Timipre Sylva, Commission Chief Executive, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Engr Gbenga Komolafe, Chairman-Board of Directors, NNPC, Sen. Margery Chuba Okadigbo, Chief Operating Officer
Oando Energy Resources, Dr. Ainojie ‘Alex’ Irune, among others.
Over the last 20 years, Nigeria’s oil and gas industry has been gathering top echelons in the industry including presidents, ministers, heads of government agencies and CEOs annually to discuss major issues, challenges and policies in the sector which is the major economic backbone of the nation.
The conference has as theme: “Funding the Nigerian energy mix for sustainable economic growth,” and ends on Thursday.
The arrival of the global pandemic led to a disparity in supply and demand for hydrocarbons, a drop in oil price and an economic crisis of unprecedented magnitude.
Oil continues to be one of the major sources for power generation. However, increasing global investment into cleaner sources of energy, volatility of oil price and the awaited clarity on the legislative framework for oil and gas production in Nigeria all highlight the need for a more diverse energy mix.
The NOG Strategic Conference will review Nigeria’s positioning within the evolving global energy landscape, with a focus on emerging opportunities to transform her energy industry through robust legislation, technology and innovation, in-country capacity development and actualize energy sufficiency targets:
The Oando CEO usually leaves his watchers and admirers enthralled by his articulation and aplomb. He is graceful in his fine grasp of business intricacies, with a very strong sense of deep erudition in discussions, especially in the area of oil and gas as well economic development in Nigeria. Also, he has deep fountain of knowledge and a shining light in the business firmament.
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