SPONSORED: Chicken Republic denies N1.7bn alleged indebtedness to UBA
Our attention has been drawn to the erroneous and defamatory publication by United Bank for Africa (UBA) in the Punch Newspaper of August 6, 2015 and also in ThisDay and Guardian newspapers. In the Punch Newspaper of August 6, 2015 our brand, Chicken Republic, amongst others, was listed as allegedly owing United Bank for Africa (“UBA”) the sum of N9.3billion.
The publication is a blatant falsehood and is an attempt to discredit the pristine reputation that Food Concepts, its Chicken Republic brand and its directors have built over many years.
The Management is also shocked that this publication has specifically named Chief Dele Fajemirokun (with his photograph) and we consider this a smear campaign obviously carried out in bad faith. The Company hereby states that Chief Fajemirokun is no longer on the Board of Directors of Food Concepts Plc.
Food Concepts Plc, established in 1999, is a leading integrated food company that employs over 1,600 staff in its Quick Service Restaurants, Bakeries and Poultry farming operations.
For the avoidance of doubt and to set the record straight, Food Concepts Plc (and not Chicken Republic) took an Agric loan under the CACS loan facility provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to develop a Greenfield Poultry Farm in Abeokuta as a backward integration initiative under the name of Free Range Farms Limited.
This facility was specifically utilized for the poultry farm development. Food Concepts and Chicken Republic were not in any way encumbered by the Facility.
It is worthy of note that Food Concepts has been making various payments to UBA and has so far paid over N880m in interest charges and principal repayments, notwithstanding that the farm project had suffered severe setbacks due to delayed, irregular and inconsistent disbursements by UBA from inception, which is contrary to the CACS disbursement guidelines. These acts adversely affected the outcome of the project. UBA intentionally delayed and failed to disburse the funds immediately after it was received from the Central Bank of Nigeria, (perhaps using the CBN funds for its internal trading activities). In addition, UBA opened an account in Food Concepts name, without our mandate or knowledge and/or ability to view this account and delayed disbursements throughout the project development. Lastly, various wrongful charges have been levied on the account and are undergoing full reconciliation.
It is therefore mischievous to highlight the name of Chicken Republic in the publication, and also give the impression that the total amount owed is N9.3bn.
Also, the said loan facility will not expire until 2016, so it is unclear why the Bank proceeded to publish the Company’s name in its list of chronic debtors in 2015.
We hereby give UBA seven (7) days within which to retract the publication and publish a letter of apology in at least two national daily Newspapers. We will not hesitate to seek legal redress for defamatory statements, if UBA fails to accede to our request.
The Company wishes to assure the general public and its customers and shareholders that we will continue to conduct our business and brand with the highest ethical standards, whilst complying with the laws of the land.