A former Managing Director of Alpha-Beta Consulting LLP, Oladapo Apara, has commenced a lawsuit against the firm, a former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, and its current MD, Akin Doherty, who served as the Lagos State Commissioner for Finance during Tinubu’s administration.
In his suit before the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere, Apara is seeking a court order to trace all the funds and assets due to him in Alpha-Beta from the year 2000 when the firm began operations till date.
He wants the court to order Alpha-Beta, Tinubu and Doherty to release to him “all the sums adjudged to be due to the claimant.”
He claimed that Alpha-Beta had made over N150bn between the year 2000 and now.
Apara, in the suit by his lawyer, Tade Ipadeola, wants the sum due to him to be paid with 10 per cent interest.
In his statement of claim, in the suit marked LD/7330GCMW/2020, Apara claimed that Alpha-Beta was his brainchild.
He averred that in the year 2000, he solely conceived the idea of the consulting firm, aimed at using a computerised system to track and reconcile the Internally Generated Revenue of the Lagos State Government.
Apara said with the intention of doing the job through his firm, Infiniti Systems Enterprises, he prepared and presented a proposal to the government of Tinubu.
However, he claimed that on presentation, Tinubu demanded that 70 per cent equity interest in the project should be assigned to Olumide Ogunmola, as a pre-condition for him to approve the project.
Apara claimed that in the end, it was agreed that a limited liability company should be incorporated with him holding 30 per cent shares and Ogunmola holding 70 per cent shares.
He said based on this arrangement, Alpha-Beta was incorporated in 2002, with him holding 30 per cent shares, Ogunmola, 40 per cent shares; and Gboyega Oyetola, 30 per cent shares.
Apara claimed that when Alpha-Beta commenced operations, Tinubu directed that Oyetola’s 30 per cent shareholding should be transferred to one Tunde Badejo.
Apara said though he was a signatory to the firm’s bank account, only two signatories were required to sign for payment from the account and this was mostly handled by Ogunmola and Badejo.
He said he signed as a fall-back option when either of the two was unavailable.
He claimed that after Alpha-Beta was incorporated and structured according to Tinubu’s dictates, he then, as governor, approved a consultancy contract to the firm to assess and collect taxes and IGR on behalf of the Lagos State Government, with a commission of 10 per cent to the firm.
Apara claimed that due to the technological innovations he deployed, Lagos State’s IGR grew from N10bn in 2002 to over N300bn in 2019.
Apara claimed that following the promulgation of a new law in Lagos State, Tinubu directed that Alpha-Beta be changed from a limited liability company to a limited liability partnership in 2010.
He claimed that Tinubu explained to him that the change was necessary to shield his involvement in Alpha-Beta from public scrutiny.
He claimed that at this point, Ogunmola was designated as the firm’s Managing Partner, while he (Apara) was Deputy Managing Partner.
Apara claimed that he became the firm’s Managing Partner in 2014 and had access to its financial records, after Tinubu directed Ogunmola to cease from playing the role.
Apara said trouble started in 2016, when Tinubu confronted him that he had got feedback that Apara was reviewing the past financial records of the firm and he was displeased with the action.
According to him, Tinubu then said he was bringing in Doherty to take over as Managing Director, while Apara should go back to his role as Deputy MD.
He claimed that Tinubu warned him “not to even think of exposing his involvement in the financial affairs of Alpha-Beta to the EFCC, as the then acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, will always protect him.”
Apara claimed that Tinubu also threatened to send after him, the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service and the Lagos State Building Control Agency to harass and seize his assets if he ever betrayed him.
Apara said he rejected Tinubu’s proposition to become Deputy MD and opted instead to become Alpha-Beta’s consultant to manage the firm’s technology and get monthly remuneration.
He said one of the partners, Badejo, subsequently brought Doherty to the firm’s office and introduced him to the staff, adding that Badejo told him (Apara) to steer clear of the firm’s office, else his life would be terminated.
Apara claimed that he reported the incident to the police but Tinubu used his influence to frustrate the investigation.
He said Badejo later became the sole signatory to Alpha-Beta’s accounts, adding that from 2018, Tinubu, Doherty and Badejo had colluded to manage the accounts among themselves, excluding him (Apara).
Apara said he suspected that his signature had been forged.
He alleged that Badejo, Doherty and Ogunmola had colluded to run the firm bankrupt through suspicious monetary transfers to third parties.
Among others, he claimed that N1bn was, in October 2017, transferred to Afkar Printing Press, together with Vintage Press Limited (Publisher of The Nation newspaper) and Lagoon Press Limited.
Apara claimed that Tinubu abused his office when he insisted on 70 per cent shareholding of the firm as pre-condition for granting approval in his capacity as governor.