ARCON gives Turkish company ultimatum to pay N481m debt

Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON)

The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has given a Turkish company, Hayat Kimya, a seven-day ultimatum to pay the N481 million debt it owes a Nigerian media planning and buying agency, Mainsail Media Limited.

The Director General of ARCON, Dr Olalekan Fadolapo, issued the ultimatum in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Fadolapo said the ultimatum followed several efforts made by stakeholders in the advertising industry to resolve the debt dispute between Hayat Kimya and Mainsail Limited.

He said that Hayat Kimya had been reluctant in paying its debt inspite of the intervention by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), the precursor to ARCON, and the Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN).

NAN reports that Hayat Kimya Nigeria Limited is a subsidiary of Hayat Holding, a Turkish enterprise with strong presence in several countries including Nigeria.

The company is also a player in the FMCG sector and a member of the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN).

Mainsail Media Limited, on the other hand, is a member of the Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN).

The ARCON director general, in the statement, recalled that Kimya Head Office in Turkey had engaged Mainsail as its media independent agency to coordinate media buying and placement, working with Hayat Kimya Nigeria Limited.

He said the contract was initially for 12 months and renewable every December.

Fadolapo said sometime in June 2021, Hayat Kimya alleged that a whistle-blower sent information that Mainsail was fraudulent in executing media contract in connivance with a media monitoring service provider.

According to him, Hayat Kimya Head Office instituted investigation into the matter without the knowledge or involvement of its Nigeria office.

Fadolapo said that, notwithstanding the whistle-blowing, Hayat Kimya continued to conduct business with Mainsail until sometime in September, 2021.

” Hayat Kimya disengaged Mainsail in November, 2021; the outstanding invoice as at the time was N481,349,854.45 (Four Hundred and Eighty -One Million, Three Hundred and Forty-Nine Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty Four Naira, Forty- Five Kobo only).

“Hayat Kimya did not inform the management of Mainsail of the whistle blowing up until the meeting called by the advertising industry regulator – the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) now the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON),” he said.

Fadolapo said Hayat Kimya offices had ignored all correspondence from Mainsail and failed to liquidate the outstanding debt inspite of the fact that the investigation of the allegation had been ongoing for 12 months as at the time of the meeting.

He insisted that where the debt is not resolved within seven days, ARCON would be constrained to revoke all approvals to advertise issued to Hayat Kimya until the issue is resolved.

Fadolapo also said the regulator may decline further approval of all advertisement materials of Hayat Kimya until the issue is resolved.

He also said ARCON may enter the company’s name in the black book of Nigerian Advertising Register.

Fadolapo further threatened that the regulator may petition other relevant government regulatory agencies to investigate the business and economic activities of Hayat Kimya in Nigeria.

This, he said, will be for the purpose of determining whether such activities were carried out in an unethical manner and in disregard to government’s regulation.

The director general said that ARCON may also initiate the prosecution of Hayat Kimya or its officers where violation of any provision of the law was observed.

He gave an assurance that ARCON would continue to ensure ethical advertising and marketing communications practice in Nigeria. (NAN)

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