Barring any last minute interventions, foremost publicity and media management organization Private Media Mart limited (PMM) is currently at the verge of instituting legal proceedings against the executive chairman of Tetrazzini Foods Plc, Mr. Donatus Okonkwo on claims of contract breach, stealing and intimidation. Addressing media practitioners during a press briefing recently held in their Allen Avenue – Lagos office, the managing partner of the media firm, Mr. Ejiofor Agada explained that the move is the culmination of other efforts made to resolve the case amicably.
“PMM was engaged to handle the publicity activities of Tetrazzini’s first Annual General Meeting (AGM) that took place on the 18th of November 2011” he said, “mid-way into the activities, the said Mr. Okonkwo made payments to us to the tune of One million and eight thousand naira”. Mr. Agada claimed that on the 17th of November, a day before the AGM, it was discovered that the payments supposedly made by Tetrazzini were with dud cheques. This, according to him, was discovered after his company had already made expenses on behalf of Tetrazzini.
In addition he says, “Apart from the fact that the Tetrazzini chairman directly instructed his accountant, one Chris Onwido to issue us the dud cheques, he also went ahead and warned him not to divulge the information to us, thereby making us to make all necessary arrangements for the AGM without any knowledge of the fraud till a few hours to the event”, he added. When confronted with the issue after the AGM, Mr. Okonkwo claimed ignorance of the action from his company and alleged that PMM did not live up to their part of the agreement.
But producing a Performance Bond signed by the two parties prior to the commencement of the contract, Mr. Agada faulted the claim of the Tetrazzini chairman on his claims and insisted that his company (PMM) are victims ‘of a man that has a history of dubious and often unethical corporate practices in the country’. His words: “Based on the terms of the subsisting contract, Tetrazzini were supposed to pay us 70% of our agreed fee and the balance will be completed two week after the AGM”. By issuing the dud cheques, Mr. Agada, a veteran journalist and publicity consultant with almost two decades experience, claims that the action constitutes a breach of both trust and contract.
He also claims that the action has brought his firm to ridicule amongst journalists as well as his bankers and shareholders. “The dishonor of presenting dud cheques and the confidence erosion with our bank as well as the opportunity and time cost of servicing an account that pauperized us rather than profiting us, he said, “makes this our grounds, not only to get what is due to us, but to salvage our honour”, he concluded. It was also learnt that the same Tetrazzini chairman is also accused of stealing an operational vehicle belonging to PMM.
Speaking during the briefing, the legal adviser to the media company, Ilukwe Ifeanyi explained that the ongoing strike action to protest the recent fuel price increase and the attendant closure of the courts, are the only factors preventing the case from going to court.