British American Tobacco’s sacked Nigerian employee for opposing their illicit stock fixing crime
Mr. Timothy Ogbole, a Nigerian employee of the British American Tobacco (BAT) Nigeria Limited, has been sacked from the company for exposing wrongdoing by an expatriate manager. Mr. Ogbole, a pioneer staff who rose to the position of Process Engineer/Pest and Hygiene Manager, was forced out of the company through a plot hatched and executed by Mr. Ilker Ogretir, a Turkish national and BAT’s Manufacturing Manager. Sources told SaharaReporters that Mr. Ogbole was a diligent staff and in March 2016, was commended, via email by the Human Resources Manager, for his performance in his new role as Process Engineer.
It was that role that caused the friction between him and Ogretir. Company sources disclosed that Mr. Ogbole observed that Mr. Ogretir was involved in certain fraudulent activities and stock fixing. Aware that what Mr. Ogretir was doing could adversely affect leaf waste management, one of his key performance indicators, Mr. Ogbole was said to have requested, via email, that the stock fixing be stopped. This, unknown to Mr. Ogbole, got his Turkish boss very angry.
In November 2016, Mr. Ogbole’s line manager, Mr. Adetola Musa, confided in him that he had been instructed to place him on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). Realizing that this was a booby trap, Mr. Ogbole refused to sign the PIP document, insisting on a performance evaluation based on key performance indicators set at the beginning of 2016.
Mr. Ogbole knew that it was his Turkish boss’ scheme to either get him sacked or demoted. This was confirmed in a video recording of the discussion between him and Mr. Adeola, his line manager.
Mr. Ogbole disclosed that staff placed on PIP by Mr.Charles Kyalo, a Kenyan and BAT Operations Director, were demoted or sacked. Those sacked were not paid entitlements commensurate with the number of years spent. Those demoted from the managerial to the supervisor cadre include Olalekan Oyenbajo, Procurement Sourcing Manager; Julius Igwe, Process Engineer; Olayinka Olaleye, Electro-Technical Manager; and
Segun Abati, who was demoted from; Level 35 Manager to Level 34 Manager.
Those sacked are Tahir Abdul, Utility Manager; Akanji Adedeji, GLT Manager; Ayodele Ikupeleye, Project Manager; Johnson Ajinomoh, Operations Finance Manager; Taiwo Matthew and Suleiman Abubakar, the Chief Security Officer, who discovered 606 cases of stolen cigarettes.
They were all sacked without appropriate entitlements after spending more than a decade. The case of the security officer is worse because those in charge of the company warehouse and even the Country Security Manager are still in the employ of the company.
Mr. Ogbole was asked to leave the service of the company for sustained refusal to sign the PIP, making his case just one of many Nigerians that are ill-treated by expatriates in BAT.
In protest, Mr. Ogbole’s lawyers, Olumide Aliu and Co., wrote BAT Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity. The letter was received by one Dr. Ada at the Labour Ministry’s office in Oyo State. But as at the time of filing, the matter was being treated with levity. BAT’s response, said Mr. Ogbole’s lawyers, was a letter offering redundancy benefits way below what the impacted staff should be paid.
When contacted BAT’s Human Resources Director, Mr. Tosin Akinyemi, directed SaharaReporters to the Head of Corporate Affairs, Mrs. Oluwaseyi Asade, who sent an email claiming ignorance of the matter.