The family of the founder and pioneer Managing Director of Global West Vessel Specialist Limited (GWVSL), a maritime security company owned by late Captain Romeo Itima, has dragged their uncle and current Managing Director of GWVSL, Captain Winifred Itima to court over allegations of financial mismanagement and unprofessional conducts.
Captain Winifred Itima who was considered the closest family member to the late Captain Romeo Itima, allegedly took control of his companies shortly after his death to the surprise of all family members.
He is being sued alongside other Directors, Mr. Oluwagbenga Leke Oyewole and Mr. Olabisi Idowu Afolabi by the wife of Captain Romeo Itima, Helen and two of her children, Zion Itima and Kevin A. Itima.
The suit designated: FHC/CS/1123/2017 was filed before Justice Babs Kuemi of the Federal High Court, Lagos and preliminary hearing took place today, Wednesday May 16,2018.
In the suit, the plaintiffs averred that Late Romeo Itima established the company in Nigeria in 2009 to combat piracy and associated crimes plaguing Nigeria’s territorial waters, adding that, it was a way he intended to contribute his quota in salvaging Nigeria’s maritime security domain, ploughing his wealth of experience as a master mariner with a rich shipping experience from the United States of America.
Sadly, the late Captain met his untimely and mysterious death on the 7th of August 2012 in Escravos, Delta State, where he was reported to have fallen off a boat and drowned.
In their statement of claim, the family alleged that the youngest sibling of their father and present Managing Director of GWVSL, Captain Winifred Itima took-over their late father’s companies, GWVSL and Molecular Power Systems Limited shortly after his death and has refused to give account of the finances of the two companies to the family till date.
They claimed that the actions of their uncle since the demise of their father was a clear breach of filial affection, trust, care and confidence their late father reposed in him.
They further claimed that late Romeo Itima singlehandedly sponsored Captain Winifred Itima to the United States of America where he was trained in the maritime practice and brought him back to Nigeria to join him in the running of GWVSL.
According to them, Captain Winifred Itima who wasn’t a director at the time late Romeo Itima died, made himself the Managing Director of GWVSL without due consultation and approvals.
The family claimed that since Captain Winifred Itima took over the affairs of their father’s companies, he has conducted himself with utmost disregard and prejudice of the interest of their father, his late brother.
As part of his administrative and financial misconduct, the family alleged that Captain Winifred Itima unlawfully allotted to himself 6,000,000 ordinary shares of Molecular Power Systems Limited without recourse to the pioneer shareholders including their mother, Mrs. Helen Itima who is an administrator of their late husband’s estate.
He allegedly reduced late Romeo Itima’s shares of 2,000,000 to 300,000 and made himself the highest shareholder in the company. This according to the family is a deliberate attempt to deprive them of their rights, interests, and entitlements.
According to the family, since their father’s death, Captain Winifred Itima has left them in the dark over the conduct and management of the companies and terminated the employment of Mr. Zion Itima, the eldest son of late Romeo Itima’s from GWVSL.
He allegedly went ahead to appoint his ally, Mr. Olabisi Afolabi a director in the company.
The family further claimed that, Captain Winifred Itima took away loads of documents which were in possession of their late father immediately after his death and prevented the family from having access to them.
According to them, Late Romeo Itima through one of his companies, GWVSL executed many contracts running into several millions of naira with the Nigeria Maritime and Safety Administration Agency (NIMASA), most of which were not paid for before his untimely death and has remained unaccounted for till date.
They are asking the court to compel Captain Winifred Itima and GWVSL to produce all contracts entered by late Romeo Itima with NIMASA before his sudden death and payments made by NIMASA till date, including the list of vessels he acquired which now form part of the fleet owned by the company.
The family therefore pleaded with the court to order a general meeting of all pioneer stakeholders to re-allot shares and appoint legitimate directors as well as declare unlawful the restructuring and allotting of shares to late Romeo Itima after his death, void.
They asked the court to issue an order directing a complete audit of GWVSL by reputable independent auditors from 7th August 2012 till date including its dealings with Molecular Power Systems Ltd.
They further begged the court to compel Captain Winifred Itima to give a detailed account of all the assets including vessels purchased under the Private Public Partnership Agreement between their father and NIMASA as well as sale of vessels and other properties so far.
The family asked the court to order the removal of their Captain Winifred Itima from the GWVSL Board of Directors and immediate forfeiture of the shares he and his ally Olabisi Afolabi unlawfully acquired as directors.