RITMAN STAFF GROAN OVER 6 MONTHS UNPAID SALARIES
*As Senator Ibokessien acknowledges N150m debt, contradicts self in court
Sequel to the winding up suit filed by Akwa Savings and Loans Limited against Senator Emmanuel Ibokessien owned Ritman College over debt totalling over 150 Million Naira, the former Senator representing Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District has filed a reply, acknowledging that he is indeed owing the bank.
This is even as teaching and non-teaching staff of Ritman College and Ritman Nursery and Primary School are grappling with the reality of surviving for six months without salary.
The unpaid backlog of salary has triggered the resignation of a substantial percentage of the school’s workforce
In court, Ibokessien has however demanded that the bank tender the account statement of Ritman Nursery/Primary School in order for both parties to agree on the extent which the said loan was serviced.
Senator Ibokessien and the bank had hitherto struck an agreement for 20% deduction to be made off each pupil’s tuition fee paid into the school’s account domiciled in the bank.
The repayment agreement was not sustainable because the school operates accounts in other banks for payment of school fees, this reporter was told over the weekend.
Our source stated that, at a point, the deduction plan had to be terminated given low patronage of the bank by parents and guardians of Ritman pupils.
By acknowledging the debt, Ibokessien has contradicted his earlier stance that he is not owing the bank. In an interview with The Nation Newspaper, he alleged that the bank is owing him given deductions made above the agreed sum owed. He also dismissed the bank’s legal move to seize his school, saying he did not use the school as collateral for the loan.
The bank puts the actual sum owed at One Hundred and Fifty Million, Nine Hundred and Seventy Six Thousand, Ninety Two Naira, Seventy Four Kobo (N150,976,092.74k).
Akwa Savings and Loans Limited is praying the Federal High Court, Uyo Judicial Division, that “Ritman College of Agriculture, Science and Management Studies Limited be wound up by this Honourable Court under the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act Cap C20, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 and the Companies Winding-Up Rules 2001.”
The bank also prays for “further orders as the Honourable Court may deem just to make in the circumstances.”
(C) Ofonime Honesty