Thought this story had ended, but apparently not. Kevin Keshi, the former editor of actress Monalisa Chinda and boyfriend Lanre Nzeribe’s magazine, Monalisa, is suing her, Lanre, their company and two police officers. Below is a press statement released by Kelvin’s lawyers.
Compliments of the season. We are solicitors to Mr. Kelvin Keshi and write on his behalf. In view of the unbalanced report of City People Magazine not verifying information before publishing, in disregard of some of the sacrosanct principles of journalism of balance, fairness and objectivity, we hereby state our client’s case.
On Friday, our office, Megafield Solicitors filed an action against Monalisa Chinda, Lanre Nzeribe, his company, Lantana International Ltd., the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State and two police officers, whom Monalisa and Lanre have been using.
Background: Kelvin Keshi, who my office represents, was a staff of Genevieve Magazine. He joined the company in 2008 as a Staff Writer, rose to the position of Senior Staff Writer and later rose to the position of Assistant Features Editor. In April, 2013, a former staff of Genevieve Magazine, one Isaac Oladipupo recommended Kelvin Keshi to Lanre Nzeribe, MD of Lantana International Lltd. Lanre said his Company wants to go into lifestyle publication and wanted Kelvin to resign and be the editor of the magazine. Kelvin resigned in April, 2013, did the foundational work, including recruitment of staff and gave general editorial direction to the proposed magazine.
On the 3rd of June, 2013, Lantana International Ltd, through Lanre Nzeribe issued him a three months provisional employment and unilaterally changed the agreed negotiation to Assistant Editor. He had also deliberately delayed the appointment letter until Kelvin had started work to reduce the chances of rejection of the offer, which was a breach of their verbal agreement. In trying to cover up his gimmick and betrayal of trust, he promised to make the employment permanent after three months.
But in the second month Lantana International, publishers of Monalisa Magazine started owing salary and after extracting enough editorial contents from Kelvin Keshi, announced to workers that the magazine was suspending its editorial unit. That was late August. Two months’ salary was owed as at this time. No termination was made. Kelvin demanded for his salary arrears and the company made payment of July salary with a promise that August salary will be paid later. Monalisa and Lanre then cut off communication with him, consequent on him going online to report the injustice meted out on him by the company.
Monalisa and Lanre, in particular felt offended and using Monalisa as a front as usual, wrote a letter to the Lagos state police command, alleging that Kelvin stole the company’s identity card, flash drive, internet modem and laptop (the laptop Kelvin uses belongs to him and was bought by him with proof of receipts). It was obviously a crooked and calculated ploy to turn the disagreement between both parties on its head and make it appear as a criminal matter so he could involve the police to harass Kelvin.
He reported, and one DSP Thompson, whose action and body language portray a man that has been bought by the ‘couple’ called Monalisa and Lanre ‘my clients.’ He declared Kelvin guilty while investigation was still on-going, ordered him to be detained for over 36 hours. As a condition for his release and payment of his August salary arrears, the said DSP Thompson instructed retraction of the publication, return of the company identity card, internet modem and flash drive. All the conditions were met. But Lanre Nzeribe and Monalisa vowed that the salary will not be paid. They kept instigating the police to arrest and charge Kelvin to court for a matter that police have no business with. IF THERE WAS NO TERMINATION, KELVIN CANNOT BE SAID TO HAVE STOLEN IDENTITY CARD, MODEM AND FLASH DRIVE THAT WERE GIVEN TO HIM BY THE COMPANY.
What was done was suspension of the editorial department and not termination of his employment. Monalisa and Lanre also doctored his C.V and claimed that Kelvin lied that he was the Editor of Genevieve Magazine before he joined them. Kelvin has never lied about his qualifications or experience; he lets his work do the rest for him. And why would Monalisa lie so brazenly and hollowly just to cover her guilt tracks? What reason does Kelvin have to lie about his qualifications or CV? Genevieve Magazine’s staff list and the corresponding position is published on the team list page in every edition. The publisher of Genevieve Magazine is her friend and adopted mentor, so DID THEY (she and Lanre) NOT MAKE THEIR INDEPENDENT FINDINGS BEFORE EMPLOYING HIM?
Lanre and Monalisa also doctored the employment letter as published by City People Magazine when they removed the name of LANTANA INTERNATIONAL LTD and published an employment letter without a letterhead. WHAT IS LANRE NZERIBE HIDDING? IS LANTANA INTERNATIONAL LICENSED TO GO INTO PUBLISHING?
In view of the fact that the police is delving into a pure civil matter and the failure of the police to act on our petition of 22nd October, 2013 to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, against the actions, conduct and utterances of DSP Thompson, leader of the investigating team, we went to court for the court to determine if the matter is a civil matter or a criminal matter and whether suspension is the same thing as termination. The matter comes up on the 16th of January, 2014.
Monalisa also granted and interview to City People last week where she alleged amongst other that Kelvin Keshi is not a qualified journalist. While we will address the defamatory angle next year at the high court, we want to also make clear some facts in response to Monalisa’s malicious but comical and empty lies in the said interview.
Kelvin has a degree (HND) in Mass Communication from the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi; and has distinguished himself in his field of expertise since his undergraduate days. While at school, he was the editor of a campus magazine. At the NYSC camp after graduation in Obubra, Cross River State; he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Orientation Broadcasting Service (OBS). With an excellent track record at the camp, the NYSC state secretariat ensured he was posted to the Cross River Broadcasting Service (CRBC), Calabar strictly on merit. He was the President of the Publicity CDS Group and Editor-in-Chief of the NYSC Passing Out magazine.
On completion of NYSC, Kelvin worked as Reporter/Researcher with the News Magazine;was Editor of Genexx Magazine; and was Staff Writer, Senior Staff Writer and Assistant Features Editor at Genevieve Magazine in less than three years. He has authored two novelettes, Bukky and Friends; and Agu, the son of the gods – which are both highly rated and gradually making inroads in the literature market. So what qualifications was Monalisa talking about?
Lastly, she made an amusing claim when she said they ‘helped’ Kelvin by hiring him. That was the height of clannishness. On the contrary, it was Kelvin who ACTUALLY did Lanre and Monalisa a huge favour by agreeing to lend his knowledge, skills and experience to them in laying the foundation of the place. Kelvin insists Lanre and Monalisa had no clue about how to achieve what they wanted until he gave the blueprint, editorially and administratively.
Monalisa Chinda ordinarily ought to be a role model to her ‘fans.’ Why would she delve into fabrication of documents, criminal distortion of truth by giving police false information, and defaming on the pages of the media the reputation and integrity of a well qualified journalist by calling him half-baked and unqualified? The courts will decide.
Let us also state here that with regard to the ‘office romance’ Monalisa kept harping on in her desperate attempt to clean up her mess, the lady in question was only a colleague and is still a friend of Kelvin Keshi. Kelvin has a fiancée who is also a close friend of the lady. That is where it ends. Monalisa attempts on this are too tame and inconsequential. No need to dissipate further energy on this point.