Lagos foremost tax consultancy firm, Alpha Beta, has issued a statement rebutting the allegations leveled against it and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, by its former Managing Director, Mr Dapo Apara.
The statement, signed by the company’s managing director, Mr. Akin Doherty, accused Apara of embarking on a campaign of calumny to divert attention from the allegation of siphoning N6 billion from the firm raised against him, and for which he was sacked.
“We have seen the allegations circulating on social media as well as the online reports of the court summons of which we are yet unaware. The fact is that Dapo Apara began making his untrue allegations in the aftermath of his removal as Managing Director of Alpha Beta for fraud and unethical practices.
While he was MD, Apara used his position to siphon huge sums of money from the company including but not limited to fraudulently converting $5 million; money allegedly used to pay for cloud-based services that were eventually discovered to be worth less than $300,000.Mr. Apara, who was a signatory to all the bank accounts of Alpha Beta from inception until his removal, received all his payments and entitlements until June 2018 when he was removed after his fraudulent misconduct was discovered.
In July 2018 further evidence of his fraudulent and unethical practices was uncovered, including the revelation that he converted approximately N6 billion belonging to Alpha Beta to his personal use. This fraud was reported to the authorities and Mr. Apara was subsequently invited to return to Nigeria from his hiding place in Dubai to render an account.
To date, he has refused to do so. Instead, Mr. Apara chose to embark on an aggressive smear campaign seemingly in an effort to blackmail us into ending the investigations into his misconduct. Specifically, in response to the court summons now circulating on social media, we would like to state as follows:
1. Contrary to the sensational headlines, designed to embarrass and blackmail, the case presented by Mr. Apara does not disclose even a single piece of evidence of fraud or criminal activity on the part of any of the alleged defendants. The case brought by Mr. Apara is, simply put, an extension of his campaign of calumny; launched to avoid the consequences of his fraudulent conduct over the years.
2. This court action by Dapo Apara is the continuation of Mr. Apara’s blackmail tactics and an attempt to distract from the huge funds he misappropriated from Alpha Beta while he was in charge of its affairs.
3. Since 2018, he has filed many suits in Lagos and Abuja on the same matter, engaged in Arbitration, the Police, EFCC and ICPC. However, in all that time, he has steadfastly refused to honour all invitations by the authorities to return to Nigeria and account for the huge funds he misappropriated.
4. The uncorroborated allegations against Asiwaju Bola Tinubu by Dapo Apara, in particular, show that he is bent only on creating sensational headlines to deflect attention from his on criminal activities.
5. Although we have not been served with the court summons, we look forward to the opportunity the case provides to publicly present the full picture of Mr. Apara’s misconduct, deceit, and fraud and to have the matter resolved by the court once and for all.”.
BACKGROUND TO THE CASE
The former Managing Director of Alpha Beta Consulting, Mr Oladapo Apara, sued the company, a former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu; and the current Managing Director of the firm, Akin Doherty; before a Lagos State High Court, Igbosere.
In the writ of summons marked LD/7330GCMW/2020, Apara asked the respondents to appear within 42 days or judgment might be given in their absence. Apara had in a petition addressed to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, accused the company of N100bn fraud but two years after, the EFCC had yet to take action.
In his statement of claim, the former Alpha Beta boss said Tinubu boasted that the then acting chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, would protect him.
He wrote, “The 2nd defendant (Bola Tinubu) also warned the claimant not to even think of exposing his involvement in the financial affairs of the 1st defendant (Alpha Beta) to the EFCC as the then acting chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, will always protect him (Tinubu).” Apara also narrated how Alpha Beta was formed in 2002 when Tinubu was still the governor.
The claimant said he was the one who came up with the idea of a consulting firm helping the state government to track and reconcile taxes. Apara said Tinubu accepted the proposal but gave many conditions including that his own people would own 70 per cent stakes in the company.
He stated, “The claimant avers that following the presentation of his proposal to the Lagos State Government, the 2nd defendant (Tinubu), who was at the time the governor of Lagos State, demanded that 70 per cent equity interest in the project be assigned to a certain Olumide Ogunmola before the 2nd defendant will approve the project.
“The claimant avers that he then met the said Olumide Ogunmola (who he had never met before) and it was agreed that a limited liability company be incorporated in which the claimant will hold 30 per cent shares while Olumide Ogunmola and his partners will hold 70 per cent of the shares of the company.
“The claimant avers that following the agreement alluded to above, Alpha Beta Consulting Limited was incorporated in 2002 with the following shareholders: Dapo Apara (30 percent), Olumide Ogunmola (40 percent) and Adegboyega Oyetola (30 percent).”
He said Tinubu later directed that Oyetola’s shares be transferred to one Tunde Badejo. Apara stated that Tinubu controlled the company which was receiving 10 per cent of tax collected on behalf of the state.
He said due to the technological innovation that was deployed by him, the Internally Generated Revenue of the state grew from N10bn per annum in 2002 to N300bn in 2019.
The claimant stated that in 2010 or thereabout, 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.
He said the aim of the move was to shield Tinubu’s involvement from public scrutiny.
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