Iconic Nigerian politician and former governor of Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial hub, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has been accused of fraudulently using a company he owns but operated by proxies to launder billions of naira while he was a seating governor.
The company, Alpha Beta Consulting, has allegedly accrued more than N150 billion for “computing, tracking and reconciling” Lagos State’s Internally Generated Revenue since the year 2000 – the company allegedly gets 10 percent commission from the state’s IGR.
The revelation is contained in a lawsuit filed before a Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, by a disgruntled former Managing Director of the company, Oladapo Apara. The suit was filed against Tinubu and Akin Doherty, the current Managing Director of the firm. It also indicted the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Ibrahim Magu, the suspended acting chairman of the anti-graft agency.
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Apara is making the matter public after he was kicked out of the company, of which he said was his idea. He said he conceptualized the idea and told Tinubu – that it would be good to form a consulting firm to help the state government track and reconcile taxes.
He said Tinubu welcomed the idea but demanded 70 percent equity interest which he allegedly assigned to his cronies, including one Olumide Ogunmola and Gboyega Oyetola, who is the incumbent Governor of Osun State. Apara said these men were used as a front for the company’s establishment.Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola
According to the writ of summons marked LD/7330GCMW/2020, Apara asked the respondents to appear in court within 42 days.
Here is how the scandal unfolded.
1. Apara said he met with Ogunmola as demanded by Tinubu, and it was agreed that a limited liability company is incorporated, in which Apara will hold 30 percent shares while Ogunmola and his partners will hold 70 percent of the company’s shares.
2. Consequently, Alpha Beta Consulting Limited was incorporated in 2002 with the following shareholders: Apara (30 percent), Ogunmola 40 percent and Oyetola 30 percent.
3. Apara said Tinubu later directed that Oyetola’s shares be transferred to one Tunde Badejo.
4. Apara said the technological innovation that he deployed at the time helped Lagos State’s Internally Generated Revenue grow from N10 billion per annum in 2002 to N300 billion in 2019, from which Alpha Beta got 10 percent commission.
5. Apara said in 2010, 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 in Lagos State.
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6. He said the aim was to shield Tinubu’s involvement from public scrutiny.
7. He said Ogunmola was then named the managing partner of the restructured company, while Apara became deputy managing partner. He said in 2014, Tinubu removed Ogunmola and named him (Apara) managing partner.Ibrahim Magu, Suspended EFCC Chairman
8. Apara said in his capacity as the managing partner, he discovered staggering irregularities in the company’s finances, such as mysterious transfers of over N20 billion to various companies.
9. Apara said he realised that the payments were approved by the partners nominated by Tinubu without his (Apara’s) knowledge, which was a breach of their partnership agreement.
10. He said N850 million was paid to Ocean Trust Ltd on March 14, 2015, and N550 million was paid to the same account on May 15, 2018.
11. He said N960 million was used to purchase 300,000,000 worth of shares in the now-defunct HITV.
12. Apara said when Tinubu learnt that he was looking into the company’s finances; he ordered his demotion back to deputy managing partner. Apara added that his refusal to obey the order led to the feud that has now escalated.
13. Following this, Apara said Tinubu forcefully removed him and asked Doherty, Tinubu’s former commissioner for Finance, to take over the company’s leadership.
14. Apara said since his removal, the company has refused to pay his dividends as a founding partner and demanded the court to order full payment of his entitlements.
15. Apara alleged that Tinubu boldly told him that if he dared to expose his (Tinubu) involvement in the company to the EFCC, Magu would always protect him. Apara said truly, the EFCC did not take any action on the matter two years after he reported it to the agency.