Ademola Aladekomo, the chairman of Chams Plc, a computer and hardware maintenance company, says his firm lost $100 million in a national identification (ID) card project that involved the federal government.
Aladekomo blamed the federal government for the loss, saying the authorities made life impossible for the company during the project.
Since 2015, both the government and Chams have had disagreements over the handling of the project, which also involved Mastercard.
The federal government accused the Nigerian company of not performing. But Chams blamed the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for the failed project that was meant to provide the national identity cards.
Updating the shareholders during the company's ‘Facts Behind the Figures' presentation at the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) on Thursday, Aladekomo said the loss has resulted in Chams not accepting any government-related projects again.
“Unfortunately, we got into the National ID debacle, from where we lost about 100 million dollars due to the government, I don't want to say irresponsibility or something like that,” he said.
Aladekomo said shareholders had supported the project because of the antecedents of the company in technology development after Chams pioneered an e-payment system, and identity management, which included the delivery of a project with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He explained that because e-payment was going to be the “in-thing”; shareholders were in full support of the identity project with the government.
However, Aladekomo said “the government made life impossible for the company, leading to a $100 million loss”.
“We came to the exchange and told them what was happening. That created a lot of issues for us. We practically lost all the money you gave us at that point in time,” he added.
LOSS RESULTED IN BANKRUPTCY
Aladekomo told participants at the presentation that the company went bankrupt because of the loss but it was rescued after securing and delivering the bank verification number (BVN) project of Nigerian banks.
Speaking on the struggle and recovery of the company, the chairman said what the management has done ever since is to stabilise the company for 18 months and Chams started growing rapidly.
He disclosed that Chams has also changed its vision.
“In the next couple of months, we would have covered Nigeria and then we can focus on West Africa. We have avoided anything to do with the government apart from our regulators.”
He said their growth in Nigeria has almost covered the West African country and by 2024, Chams will shift its focus to the African market.