…The allegation is false says Seplat Energy
The Federal Ministry of Interior has revoked the visa, work and residence permit of the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Seplat Energy PLC, Roger Brown, over allegations of racism, favouring of foreign workers, and discrimination against Nigerian employees levelled against him by employees of the company.
The Federal Government equally accused Mr. Brown of being in possession of a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) not based on a valid Expatriate Quota. It was also alleged that Brown failed to honour invitations by the Ministry’s panel, which investigated the matter.
The revocation was contained in a March 3, 2023, letter to the Board Chairman of Seplat Energy PLC by the Minister of Internal Affairs which was sighted by our reporter at the Federal High Court Lagos yesterday, where some concerned stakeholders have instituted a legal proceeding against Seplat in this respect.
The letter entitled: “Withdrawal of Work Permit, CERPAC, Visa/Residence Permit of Mr. Roger Thompson Brown – CEO, SEPLAT Energy PLC,” reads:
“I write to inform you that the Ministry is in receipt of a petition from the Solicitor to the concerned workers and stakeholders of Seplat Energy PLC accusing Rogers Thomson Brown, the CEO of the companies of various allegations.
“These accusations include racism, favouring foreign workers and discriminating against Nigerian employees. Testimony was received from several witnesses, which supported the allegations. Mr. Roger T. Brown declined to attend despite two invitations, claiming to be unavailable even though we learnt he was in Abuja for other purposes at the time.
“Investigation and records in the Ministry also revealed that Mr. Roger Brown was in possession of CERPAC that was not based on validly issued Expatriate Quota approved by the Ministry of Interior resulting to the violation of relevant Immigration Laws and Regulations. As a result of these, the Minister has determined that Mr. Brown’s continued stay in Nigeria is contrary to national interest.
“Consequently, the Ministry has withdrawn the Work Permit CERPAC, Visa, Residence Permit and all relevant documents that authorised Roger Thomson Brown’s entry or stay in Nigeria.”
Brown, a British, who joined Seplat Energy in 2013 as the Chief Financial Officer, CFO, was selected the company’s new CEO in November 2019, and effectively assumed the office in 2020.
Reacting to this development, Seplat Energy said, “Seplat Energy Plc has become aware of a news report following a letter regarding the residency status of its Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Roger Brown”.
“Seplat Energy wishes to refute the false allegations against Brown, which have been presented to the Ministry of Interior and the public by certain petitioners, and which have not been brought to the attention of Roger Brown or Seplat Energy for a reaction. The orchestrated media reports are clearly calculated to spread false information. Seplat Energy will be engaging with the Ministry to reject the impressions created by these allegations”, the Coy added.
“The Board believes that these allegations are a spurious and vindictive reaction to the enforcement of corporate governance standards in the Company by the Board of Seplat Energy. Over the past decade, Mr. Brown has earned an unblemished record of service and leadership in the Company. On 8th March 2023, the Board of Seplat Energy unanimously passed a vote of confidence in Brown, who continues to discharge his duties and responsibilities as CEO from the SEPLAT UK office”, stressed the Energy Company.
“This announcement is made pursuant to Rule 17.10 of the Rulebook of the Nigerian Exchange, 2015 (Issuer’s Rule)”.