Nigerian Breweries responds to allegation it shielded its Dutch CEO accused of corruption

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Nigerian Breweries Plc has released a statement in response to a recent publication by two Dutch journalist, which has since been published in the Nigerian media on allegations of corruption within the ranks of the top management of the brewing company and how it protected its former Dutch CEO.

In the statement signed by NB’s Corporate Affairs Adviser, Sade Morgan, the company said it does not condone bribery and corruption at any level and would act decisively regardless of the person involved and their role in the organization. She further stated that the company conducted an internal and external investigation and moved decisively to address the issues.

“At HEINEKEN, we do not tolerate bribery or corruption at any level. If an allegation emerges, a thorough investigation is carried out to establish the facts and, if necessary disciplinary action is taken – regardless of the role or position. In this case, we took exactly that approach and moved quickly to comprehensively address the issue. Both the Board of Nigerian Breweries and HEINEKEN conducted an internal and external audit and investigation,” Morgan said.

In the original story which was first published by Olivier van Beemen and Femke van Zeijl, two Dutch journalists, who claimed that Clémentine Vervelde, the wife of the erstwhile Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries, Mr Nicolaas Vervelde, used her position as the wife of the MD to extort money from vendors who did business with the brewing company. Specifically, a certain Amadu Sule, the Managing Director of TMDK Oil Traders, a fuel supplier who entered into a contract with the company to supply it with fuel for two of its breweries in Kaduna and Enugu claimed that he had to pay bribes to the Managing Director’s wife in exchange for the contract.

In January 2017, Sule filed a petition with the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, leading to summons by the Nigerian Police Force (Force Headquarters, Abuja) to some senior-level managers of NB, including the wife of the company’s Managing Director.

Van Beemen and van Zeijl claim that the brewing company, a subsidiary of Heineken NV had to pay over $2m to Amadu Sule to settle the case prompting both the subsidiary and its parent company to conduct both internal and external investigation on the allegations. The MD was subsequently forced to resign as well as other top management officials of NB.

Morgan, further said that “The Board and Management of Nigerian Breweries Plc remain committed to upholding Nigerian Laws and managing our operations in the most responsible and compliant way.”

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