The family of Late Romeo Itima (Captain), majority shareholder at the Global West Vessel Specialists Limited (GWVSL) have expressed disappointment over the alleged ‘lacklustre performance’ of the present management of the company led by Winfred Itima as managing director.
Speaking on behalf of the family in an interactive session with about 30 workers of Global West and newsmen on Sunday, May 12, 2019, Kevin Itima (son of Late Romeo Itima), condemned the refusal of the management to pay the salaries of workers for about three years now.
Kelvin debunked the claim that workers are not being paid because of the court case instituted against Winfred by the estate of Late Romeo Itima.
“It has come to our attention that the managing director, Winfred Itima, has informed the workers that the civil lawsuit against him by the Estate of Romeo is what is delaying the payment of their salaries. Winfred as managing director has not followed ethical business standards and not only has he placed the company within the sights of Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) but has also left workers unpaid for over three years. He has also not paid shareholders their proper proceeds, which leaves the question of what has Winfred done with Global West money?” Kelvin alleged.
Stating that workers and shareholders should not continue to suffer as a result of the poor leadership, Kelvin said that Winfred should be held fully accountable for his actions during his tenure, adding that Winfred must relinquish his hold on the company.
“Winfred should work with employees’ legal representatives to make sure they are paid their full salaries. He should also reimburse the workers the legal fees incurred while fighting for their salaries,” he added.
Speaking on behalf of the workers, Kabowei Ojigbare appealed to the estate of Late Romeo Itima to come to their aid, stating that they had suffered for too long.
Ojigbare disclosed that to raise fund to pay for the services of their lawyers in the court case against the company for not paying their salaries, Global West workers bargained to relinquish 7 percent of their salaries to their legal representative.
According to him, workers ended up losing 15 percent of their salaries to the counsellor, when three months’ out of the three years’ salaries owed, were paid earlier this year.
Recall that Global West Vessel Specialist Limited (GWVSL), a maritime security company, was established by late Romeo Itima, who was also the pioneer managing director/CEO in 2009. Unfortunately, he was killed at Escravos, Delta state on the 7th of August, 2012 by pirates.
Winfred Itima, elder brother of the deceased, who was considered the closest family member, allegedly took control of the company shortly after his death without the consent of all family members.
Dissatisfied with the way the company was being run, the Estate of Romeo Itima dragged their uncle, who is the current managing director of GWVSL, to court over allegations of financial mismanagement and unprofessional conducts.
He is being sued alongside other directors including Oluwagbenga Leke Oyewole and Olabisi Idowu Afolabi, by the wife of Romeo Itima, Helen and two of her children, Zion Itima and Kevin A. Itima.
On the other hand, Global West Vessel is presently being investigated by the EFCC over its waterway security contract with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) during ex-president GoodLuck Jonathan’s administration.
With the EFCC investigation, the company’s account was frozen in 2015. The workers however revealed that the account was opened in December 2018 on the instruction of EFCC to enable the payment of workers’ salaries and the clients, to pay the Global West what they owe it.
Unfortunately, the available money was only able to cover for three months salaries of the workers.