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MD Arrested Over Allegation Of Piracy, Loss Of N600m.

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Detectives attached to the Anti-vice, Zone 2 Police Headquarters, Onikan, Lagos State have arrested the Managing Director of EPPS Books Limited, Chizozim Aguguo, a business mogul, for allegedly almost causing Tonad Publishers Limited to close shop.

Tonad Publishers Limited was said to have laid-off most of its workers after a copyright infringement that ate deep into the financial muscle of the company.

The lawyer of Tonad Publishers Limited, Blessing Ahmed of Blue Diamond Law Firm, said that the publishing firm was fast sliding into bankruptcy without any fathomable reason, thus an investigation had to be carried out.

Ahmed said: “We then found out that Chigozie had been pirating our client books. This has been going on for some years.”

Ahmed and her client, Tony Iwena, owner of Tonad Publishing Limited, have fingered Aguguo as the brain behind the whole drama of piracy.

Chigozie, however, has retorted that it was actually Tonad Publishing that reneged on their contract, causing his major losses.

He explained that his company imported some containers of educational material in 2015 and they were selling them as agreed, but then Tonad Publishers went behind him and imported without his knowledge.

He further said that Iwena and Tonad Publishing owned him over N40 million that accrued from their business dealings.

Iwena, who alleged that his life was even threatened by Chigozie, has petitioned the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Adamu Ibrahim, to intervene before the man made good his threat against him.

He claimed to have been threatened after he repeatedly asked Chigozie to hands off his business.

According to Iwena, trouble started after Chigozie and other company, Jayant Printey, allegedly defrauded him by producing and selling his books without his consent or authorization.

He further noted that Chigozie, who is now presently being quizzed at Zone 2 Command, threatened
to deal with him.

In the petition, Ahmed urged the IGP to investigate the matter urgently and bring it to a final conclusion to prove that nobody was above the law.

Ahmed stated: “Sometime in the year 2012, our client entered into an agreement with EPP books Services Nigeria for financial help. In the same vein, our client also entered into an agreement with Jayant Printery, a company based in India to print some of her books and import same into Nigeria.

However, it was unknown to our clients that while the agreement was still subsisting, EPP books and Jayant Printery were defrauding our client by producing and selling her books without her consent or authorization. This illicit act continued over the years and has caused grave harm to our client.

“The policemen that effected his arrest were thoroughbred professionals. We need more of them in the Force.”

Chigozie was arrested on Tuesday by policemen from Zone 2 and taken to the office of the Assistant Inspector General of Police for further questions.

Iwena said: “Chigozie has been pirating and infringing on our copyrights of books published by our companies. It all started in 2012 after Chigozie and I went into agreement, to jointly produce some books as partners. Later, Chigozie went to India to be printing those books. He would ship them into Nigeria, sell and make money without recourse to Tonad Publishing. He was defrauding me.”

Iwena said he received information about Chigozie bringing several shipments of books into Nigeria, as much as between 15 to 20 containers.

In an emotional voice, Iwena said: “Tonad Publishing has almost grounded. We had to lay off many of our workers. Right now, we can’t quantify our losses. We had 120 workers, today, we have only 20 left and we’re battling on how to raise money to pay salaries. Before everything fell apart, Chigozie and I even had agreement to carry out joint importation.”

Recollecting the genesis of his troubles, Iwena said one of his sale representatives came to him to tell him that his uncle, Chigozie, who is rich, could help them to expand the publishing business.

The worker told him that with his uncle’s money, Tonad could be bringing in as much as 20 containers of Tonad books.

The agreement was that Iwena and Chigozie would share profit 50-50.

Explaining how he started Tonad Publishing, Iwena said he pays for the intellectual property bought from different authors and he also writes.

These properties are produced as text books.

The books are materials that prepare students for senior secondary schools examinations.

A staff of Tonad Publishing, Clever Eseka, alleged that losses accrued from the piracy infringement run to over N600 million because Chigozie had been bringing as much as 20 containers of Tonad Publishing text books over two years.

Eseka said: “This is a classic case of ‘Monkey dey work, Baboon dey chop.’ Chigozie had earlier claimed that Tonad Publishing didn’t pay him as agreed in the contract. After we heard that, we called several times, for a round table discussion, so that we could reconcile accounts, but he refused to show up.”

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