The management ofChamsConsortium Limited has written a 6-page letter to the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, detailing how MasterCard is frustrating the National Identity card Project.
In the letter dated April 24, 2019 and signed by Demola Aladekomo, Chairman, Board of Directors, Chams claimed that through its unwholesome business practice, MasterCard has brought great loss to ChamsConsortium Ltd, Chams Plc, Nextzon Ltd and the Nigerian economy.
It noted that in 2006, Chams Plc was invited by the Federal Government to bid for the National ID project, which it competed and emerged the preferred bidder for the Nigeria National Identity Card (NIC) concession. But before and upon the execution of a concession agreement with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Chams Plc pursued the implementation of the NIC concession by incorporating Chams Consortium Ltd (CCL), a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) with the sole purpose of implementing the NIC concession.
Chams Plc, it claimed holds the majority shareholding in CCL, invited MasterCard to work with the Chams group as one of its technical partners on the NIC concession. But, to its surprise and disappointment, MasterCard went on to collude with its client, NIMC, to frustrate the concession won by Chams.
We are aggrieved by the betrayal of our trust and confidence by MasterCard. MasterCard willfully side-tracked Chams using the knowledge and opportunity provided by Chams. We consider this act of bad faith as not just a breach of contractual obligation owed to Chams under the terms of the Chams/MasterCard agreements, but also a betrayal of our trust and a great disdain of our nation, Nigeria.
We expected that a reputable international organisation like MasterCard dealing with several partners in the financial services sector worldwide would conduct its business above board and with integrity. It is worthy of note that Chams brought MasterCard into the Nigerian ID card project and it is highly unethical for them to have used their global clout, wealth and connections to shut us out of the National ID project. MasterCard is positioned to garner incredible revenue on the National ID project using Chams Plc.’s years of research, design and development as a springboard.
The terms of the draft TSA were entirely one-sided in favour of MasterCard, designed to preserve MasterCard’s acquired monopoly of the National ID project and reflective of the disregard some international corporations exhibit towards indigenous companies. We expected that MasterCard would have approached us to discuss and negotiate an amicable settlement that reintegrates CCL into the National ID project and compensates for lost earnings. MasterCard chose not to do this but instead decided to railroad us into signing the TSA. Influenced by its apparent profits from its unlawful dealings with NIMC, MasterCard has rebuffed our attempts to amend the TSA.
Chams Plc is a leader in the Nigerian IT sector; a leadership position we attained through hard work and integrity. It is important to state that MasterCard’s arrangement with NIMC today is as a result of the years of hard work we put into the development of the Nigerian National Identity card concept.
The Chams companies have been responsible for cutting-edge and important IT solutions which benefit the entire country till date. We note with all humility, but a sense of fulfilment that despite the efforts of Mastercard to frustrate and strangulate Chams, Chams along with its partners successfully implemented and delivered the BVN project for Nigerian banks, NIBSS and CBN. The BVN has facilitated financial inclusion and assisted the government in its efforts against financial crimes, terrorism and anonymised transacting. Had MasterCard and NIMC shown good faith, by now the National ID project would have been successfully delivered by Chams for 100m Nigerians compared to the current number of cards that have been issued, which is a far cry from the CCL concession.
MasterCard’s business conduct in the National ID project cannot stand international good business practices or transparency test. MasterCard played foul and breached its obligations to CCL to secure the NIMC contract with the knowledge that ChamsConsortium already had a concession. If Chams had the financial resources to prosecute this case in a UK or EU court, Mastercard would have been found liable, fined substantially by the EU for malpractices and made to pay Chams substantially.
Knowing our limited financial resources after they tried running us bankrupt, MasterCard keeps calling our bluff knowing we have no resources to pursue a lengthy legal case. This mammoth global company is using its might and resources to simply cheat us and the country Nigeria. The greater harm is being done to Nigeria. Under the concession, CCL was projected to issue at least 100 million identities and cards at no cost to the Federal Government of Nigeria within five years. However, eight (8) years later, MasterCard’s unlawful agreement with NIMC has produced only a negligible number of issued cards, while MasterCard gets paid by poor Nigerians.