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Seplat’s Roger Brown in immigration mess, as FG goes after chairman, directors over job offer



The Nigeria Immigration Service has filed a lawsuit against the Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Energy, Roger Brown, over his work permit.

In a corporate document sent to investors and the capital market on Thursday, Seplat Energy said Brown and some directors and officers were sued by the Federal Government agency following a disagreement over the CEO’s immigration status.

Ripples Nigeria previously reported that Brown was accused by the Federal Government of being in possession of a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC), which is not based on a valid Expatriate Quota.

This was discovered by the Ministry of Interior while probing Brown over allegations of racism and mistreatment of Nigerian workers in favour of foreign employees.

Following the discovery, the work permit, resident permit and visa of the Scottish businessman were seized, forcing him to leave Nigeria. He continued his duty as Seplat’s CEO from the firm’s UK office.

The immigration office, in a suit, marked, FHC/AB/CR/149/2023, accused Seplat board chairman, Basil Omiyi, company secretary/legal counsel, Edith Onwuchekwa, and independent directors Rabiu Bello, Bashirat Odunewu, Fabian Ajogwu, Charles Okeahalam, Emma Fitzgerald, of conspiring to breach the section 36 (1)(a) and 71 of the Immigration Act, 2015, in favour of Brown.

READ ALSO:Trouble for Seplat, as court bars Roger Brown from CEO duties

The court filing states that “without the consent of the comptroller-general of immigration,’ they conspired, allowing Brown to take up the employment, an action that is “contrary to section 36 (1)(a) and 71 of the Immigration Act, 2015, and punishable under section 36 (2) and section 71 (a) of the Immigration Act, 2015”.

They were also accused of conniving to disregard section 36 (1) (b) of the Immigration Act 2015 by allowing “Roger Brown take over business as chief executive officer of Seplat Energy PLC without the consent of the minister of interior. The action is punishable under section 36 (2) and section 105 of the Immigration Act 2015.

Also, the immigration office accused the defendants of breaching sections 36, 71, and 105 of the Immigration Act, 2015, stating that the directors of Seplat were negligent, as well as instigated, encouraged and connived between themselves to allow Brown to receive the employment offer despite the withdrawal of his immigration documents.

Commenting on the lawsuit, Seplat said: “Seplat Energy has become aware of a suit filed at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, by the Nigeria Immigration Service (acting for the Federal Government of Nigeria) against the Company and some of its Directors and Officers.

“The suit is in relation to the immigration status of Mr. Roger Brown and the withdrawal of his immigration visa by the Ministry of Interior.”

Seplat further stated it: “remains confident that it has provided all of the required documentation to the Ministry of Interior and the judicial process will address the circumstances appropriately, while it continues to engage and cooperate with the immigration authorities in Nigeria.”

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