LAGOS – Former governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu; a consulting firm, Alpha-Beta, and a former commissioner in the state, Akin Doherty, have been accused by a Nigerian chartered accountant, Dapo Apara, of money laundering, fraud, tax evasion, and sundry corrupt practices.
According to the claimant, in a writ of summons deposed to at a Lagos High Court, Tinubu and Alpha-Beta defaulted on certain agreements reached in the past about the management and control of the consulting firm.
The 40-page writ of summons, which was issued by Mr. Apara, through his counsel, Tade Ipadeola, commanded that within forty-two days of service on the respondent, he is to cause an appearance to be entered into as an action for the suit of Mr. Dapo Apara and, in case of default, the claimant may proceed therein and judgment may be given in his absence.
Alpha-Beta is a consulting firm handling the computation, tracking, and reconciliation of internally generated revenue (IGR) in Lagos State in return for a commission.
Apara, who claims to own 30 percent stake in the company, accused Tinubu of directing and dictating the affairs of the company by diverting assets to himself at his own detriment.
He also claimed that the company was being used for massive corruption purposes, including tax evasion, bribery of government officials, diversion of funds, and money laundering.
Other stakeholders include Michael Ogunmola, trading under the name and style Mono Consulting (40 percent); Tunde Badejo, trading under the name and style Ebo Consult (15 percent), and, again, Tunde Badejo, trading under the name and style Intergrev Services (15 percent).
In the writ of summons issued by Tade Ipadeola on behalf of the claimant, Apara is seeking an order compelling an account of all sums due to Mr. Apara from 2010 till date; an order tracing all funds and assets due to him from the inception of the company to date; an order of specific performance of certain clauses of the partnership agreement that created the company by extant partners; an order for payment to the claimants by the defendants, all sums adjudged to be due to him on the submission of the accounts; and payment of 10 percent interest on the sums adjudged to be due to him.
The first, second, and third defendants, according to the writ, include Alpha-Beta Consulting, Tinubu, and Doherty, respectively.
According to Apara, sometime in 2000, he solely conceived, prepared, and presented a proposal to the Lagos State government on providing consultancy services using his firm, Infiniti Systems Enterprises, with respect to using computerisation to track and reconcile the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state.
Following the presentation of his proposal to the Lagos State government, Apara claimed that Tinubu, who was at the time the governor of Lagos State, demanded that 70 percent equity interest in the project be assigned to a certain Olumide Ogunmola before he would approve the project.
Apara said he then met the said Ogunmola, whom he had never met before, and it was agreed that a limited liability company be incorporated in which Apara will hold 30 percent shares while Ogunmola and his partners will hold 70 percent of the shares of the company.
Alpha-Beta Consulting Limited was incorporated in 2002 with the shareholding ratio that shows that 30 percent was allocated to him (Apara), 40 percent for Ogunmola, and 30 percent for Adegboyega Oyetola.
Apara said that upon the commencement of business operations, Tinubu directed that the 30 percent shareholding of Oyetola be transferred to one Tunde Badejo and this was done.
He added that although he was a signatory to all the bank accounts of the company, payments from the bank accounts required only two signatories which was mostly handled between the other two partners, Ogunmola and Badejo.
After the incorporation of Alpha-Beta Consulting Ltd in 2002 and the company, Apara said it was structured according to the dictates of Tinubu, in his official capacity as the governor of Lagos State.
Tinubu thereafter approved that Alpha-Beta Consulting Ltd be awarded consultancy contract for the assessment and collection on behalf of the Lagos State government, all taxes and internally generated revenue (IGR) due and payable to the state at a 10% consultancy fee (subject to a benchmark which varies from time to time).
He noted further that due to the technology deployed by him, the internally generated revenue of the state grew from a base of about N10 billion in 2002 to over N300 billion in 2019.
Apara alleged that the bubble burst in 2010 when Tinubu directed that the incorporation structure of the Alpha-Beta Consulting Limited be changed from a limited liability company to a limited liability partnership under a newly promulgated law of the Lagos State government.
Apara said Tinubu explained to him that the purpose was to further shield his (Tinubu’s) involvement in Alpha-Beta Consulting Ltd from public scrutiny. This was done in 2010.
Apara claimed that Tinubu thereafter directed that Ogunmola be designated as Managing Partner of Alpha Beta Consulting LLP, while he was designated as Deputy Managing Partner.
He explained further that in 2014, Tinubu directed that Ogunmola should cease being the Managing Partner and he (Apara) then became the Managing Partner with access to review the financial records.
But things took a dramatic turn sometime in 2016 when Tinubu told him he received feedback that he (Apara) was reviewing past financial records of the company and he was displeased with this action.
He claimed that Tinubu therefore announced that he intends to bring Doherty into the management of the company as Managing Director to take over the financial management of the company, while he (Apara) should revert to his former role as Deputy Managing Director and not get involved in the company’s financial affairs.
“The 2nd defendant (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) also warned the claimant not to even think of exposing his involvement in the financial affairs of the 1st defendant to the EFCC as the then acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, would always protect him (the 2nd defendant),” Apara said in the writ.