We’re Behind Him: Seplat claims allegations against Roger Brown, a British, were “orchestrated” and “clearly calculated to spread false information.”
The Nigerian Government has revoked the Work Permit, Visa and Residence Permit of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Seplat Energy PLC, Roger Brown, over allegations of racism, favouritism and discrimination against Nigerian workers levelled against him by staff.
The Ministry of Interior equally accused 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 the Seplat chief failed to honour invitations by the Ministry’s panel, which investigated the matter.
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The revocation was conveyed to the Board Chairman of Seplat Energy Plc by the Minister.
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 Mr. 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, thus violating 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“Consequently, the Ministry has withdrawn the Work Permit CERPAC, Visa, Residence Permit and relevant documents that authorised Mr. Roger Thomson Brown’s entry or stay in Nigeria,” the letter stated.
Brown, a British, joined Seplat in 2013, as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and was made the company’s CEO in November 2019, but effectively assumed the office in 2020.
The outcome of the court case was still being awaited as at the time of filing this report.
We Are Behind Rogers
Meanwhile, Nigerian energy firm, Seplat Energy Plc, has denied racism and favouritism allegations made against its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Roger Brown.
In a statement, the company claimed that the allegations were “orchestrated” and “clearly calculated to spread false information.”
The statement also stressed that Seplat Energy will engage with Nigeria’s Ministry of Interior to clarify the allegations. In the meantime, it continues to vehemently refute the negative impressions created by the allegations.
Seplat’s account of events: The statement, which was authorised by Seplat’s Independent Chairman Mr Basil Omiyi, further clarified that the disgruntled stakeholders did not even inform the CEO about their grudges before involving the Ministry of Interior. Part of the statement said:
“Seplat Energy Plc has become aware of a news report following a letter regarding the residency status of its Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”), Mr Roger Brown.
“Seplat Energy wishes to refute the false allegations against Mr 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 Mr 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 statement emphasised that Seplat Energy’s board of directors has expressed full confidence in Mr Brown.
The board described the allegations as a “spurious and vindictive reaction” to the enforcement of corporate governance standards at the company.
The statement also highlighted Mr Brown’s “unblemished record of service and leadership in the Company” over the past decade.
In the meantime, he continues to discharge his duties and responsibilities as CEO, albeit from Seplat Energy’s UK office.