Alpha-Beta crisis gets messier as ex-MD alleges fraud, tax evasion in lawsuit

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Oladapo Apara, former managing director of Alpha-Beta Consulting, has filed lawsuit alleging that the company has been diverting billions of naira from the coffers of the Lagos state government since 2002.

The writ of summons with no LD/7330GCMW/2020 deposed to at a Lagos high court on October 2, 2020 also alleged money laundering, tax evasion, forgery and a number of corporate fraudulent practices on the part of the company and its owners.

However, an official of Alpha-Beta who spoke with TheCable said the company was yet to be served the writ.

In a series of tweets in 2018, Apara had also alleged that Alpha-Beta had, using technology, generated N1.5 trillion from 2002-2018 for the state government.

He said the company earned 10 percent as commission and did not pay taxes.

In the writ of summons, Apara claimed that in 2000, he gave a proposal to Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who was governor of Lagos from 1999 to 2007.

The idea was how to use better technology to track the state’s internally generated revenue (IGR).

Tinubu allegedly demanded that a 70 percent equity interest be assigned to Olumide Ogunmola and Adegboyega Oyetola, two people said to be his associates.

In the final sharing arrangement, Apara claimed Ogunmola was allotted 40 percent and Oyetola, who became governor of Osun state in 2018, was given 30 percent of the 70 percent allegedly demanded by Tinubu.

On the directive of Tinubu, Oyetola’s 30 percent, Apara further alleged, was transferred to one Tunde Badejo.

Following the agreement on all sides, Apara said he became a signatory to all the bank accounts, alongside the two shareholders whom Apara claimed were simply “holding trust for Tinubu”.

“After incorporation of Alpha-Beta Consulting Limited in 2002 and structured according to the dictates of the 2nd defendant (Bola Ahmed Tinubu), the 2nd defendant in his official capacity as the governor of Lagos state then 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 said in court papers seen by TheCable.

APARA KICKED OUT

In 2010, three years after Tinubu had completed two terms as Lagos governor, Apara said the former governor directed that the incorporation structure of the company be changed from a limited liability company to a limited liability partnership under a newly promulgated Lagos law.

Tinubu, Apara said, had told him that the purpose of the change “was to further shield his (Tinubu) involvement in Alpha-Beta Consulting Ltd from public scrutiny”.

Subsequently, the limited liability partnership then took over the Lagos contract previously awarded to Alpha-Beta Consulting Limited.

Trouble began for Apara in 2014 when Tinubu allegedly directed that Ogunmola become the managing partner of the company and Apara as deputy managing partner.

The battle between Apara and Ogunmola went on till 2016 when Tinubu allegedly stopped Apara from reviewing the financial records of the company.

Tinubu then brought in Akin Doherty as managing director who took over and asked Apara to stay away from the company’s finances, Apare alleged.

Apara also alleged that Tinubu warned him not to think of exposing his involvement in the financial affairs of the company to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as Ibrahim Magu, the now suspended chairman of the anti-graft agency, “will always” protect him.

The accountant also accused Tinubu of threatening to use Lagos government agencies to harass and seize his assets.

‘ILLEGALLY OPERATING ALPHA-BETA BANK ACCOUNTS’

From 2018, Apara said, Tinubu, Badejo and Doherty colluded to operate Alpha-Beta bank accounts without his involvement as one of the signatories.

He said at one point, he suspected that his signature was forged to enable Tinubu and the others to operate the company’s accounts without him.

Despite the huge income made by Alpha-Beta since 2010, Apara claimed that to date, Badejo and Doherty, acting under Tinubu’s directive, “breached clause 8 of the partnership agreement and denied” him his share of the profit from the partnership as provided in the agreement.

He further averred: “Tunde Badejo, Michael Olumide Ogunmola and Akin Doherty have colluded and conspired to run the affairs of the business in a manner designed to bankrupt the 1st defendant through suspicious monetary transfers to third parties running into billions of naira contrary to the partnership agreement.

“The account review revealed large scale fraudulent transactions some of which are stated above and diversion of Alpha-Beta funds running into billions of naira by Tinubu.

“During the review of the account records of the company, huge sums of money that Alpha-Beta earned over the years was not reflected in the accounts of the company.”

Apara alleged that since 2014, the company has not kept proper financial records.

He said Badejo, when confronted, admitted that “the funds of the company have been mismanaged over the years including diversion funds for purported joint ventures purposes at the direction of and for the benefit of Tinubu”.

Apara, in the suit, among other prayers, asked the court to grant an order to trace all funds and assets due to him.

In a petition to the EFCC in 2018, Apara had accused Tinubu of using the company for money laundering and had diverted about N100 billion.

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