Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Nigerian Breweries dismiss corruption allegation against its former CEO

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Nigerian Breweries Plc on Wednesday reacted to an investigative report which exposed how the company protected Nico Vervelde, its Dutch Chief Executive Officer suspected of corruption.

The company reacted in a disclosure notice signed by Sade Morgan, the Corporate Affairs Director at Heineken.

The notice was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange Wednesday.

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The company’s reaction is coming against the backdrop of PREMIUM TIMES’ publication of an investigative piece by journalists Olivier van Beemen and Femke van Zeijl which detailed corrupt practices in the company.

The report, titled ‘How Nigerian Breweries protected its Dutch CEO suspected of corruption’, was presented to the Nigerian audience for the first time.

The journalists recently won De Tegel, the most prestigious award for journalism in the Netherlands, for their revelations about high-end corruption at Nigerian Breweries, a subsidiary of the multinational Heineken.

In May 2017, PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mr Vervelde resigned as the MD of the company to take up another appointment at the Heineken Group. He was promptly replaced with Johan Doyer.

The latest report has now exposed the details of the resignation. Based on almost a year of investigation both in Nigeria and the Netherlands, the report revealed how the company’s former Nigeria CEO was linked to cases of bribery, corruption, and abuse of office.

More: Nigeria tightening anti-money laundering fight, ICPC tells UN
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In its response Wednesday, the company claimed that it does not tolerate bribery or corruption at any level of its operations.

“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,” it said.

In the case exposed in the report, the company said it 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,” the statement said without indicating if it found Mr Vervelde culpable or not.

The company added that it remains committed to upholding Nigerian Laws and managing its operations in the most responsible and compliant way.

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