The attention of Aiteo Group (“Aiteo”) and Mr. Benedict Peters (the Founder/Executive Vice Chairman of Aiteo Group) (“Mr. Peters”) has been drawn to a false, misleading and defamatory media report/publication made on 12th July 2022, by the online news portal, Pointblanknews.com, under the headline “AITEO BOSS, BENEDICT PETERS, LINKED TO MASSIVE INTERNATIONAL FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING (PART 1)”, which has been further circulated by other online media platforms.
In the publication, Pointblanknews.com made a number of absurdly spurious and defamatory allegations against Aiteo and Mr. Peters, citing unnamed, unspecific and unverifiable sources (in common with its other publications), in what is ostensibly an orchestrated smear campaign against Mr. Peters and a number of Aiteo entities.
The publication makes several false statements seeking, forlornly, to embellish its headline that Mr. Peters is currently “linked to massive international fraud, money laundering…” and alleges, without any particulars whatsoever, that he is the subject of various indictments within and outside Nigeria. The article offers no facts, information or explanation as to what it says either Mr. Peters or some of the entities that it names has done; done wrong or improperly either in contravention of any laws or business practices.
In short, other than to publish a list of names and throw bare accusations lacking any form of content or credibility, the article represents the worst form of hollow journalism of the sort that the publisher appears to be regularly associated with. The article misguidedly and malevolently derided ours and Mr. Peters’ activities and in so doing, demonstrated irresponsible journalism as it is plainly evident that its writers undertook no proper investigation or inquiry, prior to publication, as they did not even make the professional effort to contact us despite our very well publicised locations and contact details.
Essentially, the article represents outcomes of a maliciously conceived concoction of untruths designed to embarrass, humiliate or disgrace both Aiteo and Mr. Peters, without any foundation whatsoever. These statements are completely false and fabricated; defamatory and highly damaging to our image and reputation, and that of Mr. Peters as an international businessman of considerable repute, in the minds of reasonable and right-thinking members of the society.
Arising only from the undeserved necessity to refute allegations that have no substance whatsoever, we are constrained to confirm that that the basis of the article is a collation of maliciously conjectural fiction. The article pathetically fails to state that any of the transactions represented by the names to which the relate or the contents represent evidence of any inappropriate undertakings.
It is plainly evident that the said words were uttered and published deliberately, maliciously, falsely and willfully with the intent to cause damage to the character, profession, and reputation of the Aiteo entities and Mr Peters.
The publishers knew or ought to know that NONE of these assertions are true because there are no alleged financial crimes considered, proffered or in existence based on any facts or documents involving our client; any companies in which he has any interest, family members in any of the countries that the article mentions or involving the banks named or any other banks whatsoever. The sheer lack of specificity regarding the nature or type of any such gifts given in the documents that you have provided speaks to the incontestable lack of credibility of the allegations.
The truth is that Mr. Peters has been assiduously working in the Oil and Gas industry in Nigeria for over 30 years. Mr. Peters is the founder of the AITEO, an integrated global-focused energy conglomerate comprising a number of corporate entities that provide jobs and enhance meaningful indigenous participation in the energy sector.
The core area of Aiteo’s business, at its inception, was trading and distribution of all kinds of petroleum products but grew to include upstream exploration and production of crude oil condensate and gas, bulk petroleum storage, refining of petroleum products, trading, marketing and supply as well as power generation and distribution. Under Mr. Peters’ leadership, Aiteo has grown rapidly and steadily over the years, becoming a significant player in the Oil and Gas industry in Africa. We have successfully expanded our business footprint into Power, Mining, Real Estate, Agriculture and Health.
Inherently, the overwhelming malice and inaccuracies in the article confirm that the writers’ objectives were undisguisedly spiteful. Many of the statements contain untrue and highly inflammatory comments. Indeed, some of them contain incontrovertible malicious falsehood. These circumstances lead to the inescapable conclusion that the writers have pursued this course specifically with the intent to cause maximum damage and embarrassment. It is not known what writers motivation was.
We have referred the matters arising to our lawyers for further decisive action against the publisher and all those who have irresponsibly disseminated the article. In the interim, Aiteo and Mr Peters hereby urge members of the public as well as business partners, associates and well-wishers globally to disregard the as well as any previous and future defamatory reports or publications associated with this article or any comments therein including the re-publication by other online media outlets that used Pointblanknews.com as their source.
We assure the general public that Aiteo and Mr Peters remain committed to upholding the true values of transparency, excellent service delivery and accountability at all times for which we have come to be known.