Image caption- Armed policemen at the gate of the HealthPlus head office
For the second time in three months, Alta Semper Capital, a private equity firm, has attempted to take over the HealthPlus head office.
According to The Cable, Chidi Okoro, the Chief Transformation Officer appointed by the firm, led some police officers to the head office on Tuesday. This contravenes a November 4 ruling by Oluremi Oguntoyinbo, a Justice of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Oguntoyinbo had ordered all parties—HealthPlus Limited; HealthPlus Africa Holdings; Ayo Salami; Afsane Jetha; Zacharty Fond; Deji Akinyanju; including Bukky George, CEO of HealthPlus, to maintain status quo pending the determination of the motion before the court. He ruled that if such an incident occurs, it will be in contempt of the court.
The order by Oguntoyinbo came after police officers attempted to arrest George on the court’s premises.
Sources told The Cable that Okoro, a lecturer at the Lagos Business School, was accompanied by Ernest Eguasa, chief financial officer (CFO) of HealthPlus; an information technology (IT) expert; and some armed police officers said to have been arranged by G4S Secure Solutions Nigeria.
On arrival, the policemen were said to have manhandled the security men on duty because they barred them from entering the premises.
“They eventually forced their way in and went straight to the IT department in an attempt to seize control of the systems of the business. The staff of the IT department, however, refused to hand over the passwords,” the source said.
Chidi Okoro was said to have forced a staff to unlock her laptop and also seized the laptop belonging to the company’s graphic artist.
According to the source, the IT expert also attempted to hack the systems but was unsuccessful.
“Okoro placed the company’s security manager under duress, insisting that he dismissed the security officers from Prudential Guards who protect all company premises. Okoro forced the security manager to sign an undertaking but he refused.
“Staff were eventually allowed to leave. The armed policemen and staff of G4S were left behind. They also, on the orders of Okoro and Eguasa, promised to return with carpenters to change all the locks to the offices.”
In a suit with no. FHC/L/CS/609/2020, George is challenging her removal as CEO announced by HealthPlus board of directors on September 25, 2020.
George is challenging the legality of the announcement as the board has not held a meeting in eight months.The company’s letterhead used in announcing the change in leadership also listed as a director, Deji Akinyanju, who is no longer a member of the board.