*Workers owed 8-months salary *Fabrication yard comatose *Vessels idle
Kunle Kalejaye 16 March 2016, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Facilities belonging to Kaztec Engineering Limited, a subsidiary of Chrome Group, an indigenous engineering and fabrication company owned by Chief Emeka Offor, have been grounded over unpaid salaries to workers, contractors, and vendors, SweetcrudeReports can authoritatively report.
Ekulo Spirit, one of the vessels in Kaztec’s fleet
The company’s fabrication yard on Snake Island, which houses Badagry Creek Industrial Park Free Trade Zone, licensed in 2014 was grounded in March 2015 when Addax Petroleum had tax issues with the Federal Government, leading to abrupt halt of the platform construction for oil production from Antan and Ofrima/Udele fields.
Investigations revealed that four of the company’s vessels, namely Ekulo Sheyenne (a DP barge), Ekulo Spirit, Ekulo Tornado and Ekulo Explorer are currently in a state of inactivity as both foreign and indigenous crew members have been sent home.
Findings also revealed that contract workers in the fabrication yard were relieved of their duties and sent home without compensation while permanent staff members were redeployed to the company’s head office on Victoria Island, Lagos.
A brief visit to the company’s fabrication yard on Snake Island revealed that the facility, which usually bubbles with activities, is now a shadow of itself as only security personnel were seen guarding the premises.
A staff of the company who did not want his name in print disclosed that salaries had not been paid for eight months while some contractors who are equally being owed have threatened to take legal action against the company.
$1.24bn realised from single source contracts
Investigations revealed that Kaztec Engineering won favourable ‘single source contracts’ valued at $1.244 billion from Addax Petroleum alone between 2009 and 2014.
These ‘single source contracts’ which precluded competitive tender from other companies have raised questions on transparency in the process leading up to the award.
Workers are also asking why a company that has realised so much in terms of contracts awards can not pay salaries to workers.
Sir Emeka Offor’s $10m donation
However, the inability of the company to pay salaries did not hinder Chrome’s Chairman, Sir Emeka Offor to donates $10 million to the Jimmy Carter Foundation to combat River blindness in June 2015.
Despite the non-payment of salaries, the management of the company, as gathered, expects workers to resume work and perform their daily activities without explanation on why salaries have not been paid.
SweetcrudeReports gathered that workers are irked by the company’s inability to pay salaries while chairman of Chrome Group, owners of Kaztec Engineering, confidently made a $10 million donation.
All projects being executed by Kaztec Engineering for Addax Petroleum, Shell and ExxonMobil have since been placed on hold.