Dapo Apara, former MD of Alpha-Beta accuses Tinubu of fraud, tax evasion | International Centre for Investigative Reporting

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DAPO Apara, a Nigerian chartered accountant and former Managing Director of Alpha Beta, has accused Bola Tinubu, a former Governor of  Lagos State and National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC),  of fraud and tax evasion.

Apara, in a 40-page writ of summons sighted by The ICIR issued by his lawyer, Tade Ipadeola, also accused Alpha-beta, a consulting firm and Akin Doherty, a former commissioner in the Lagos State of money laundering, fraud, tax evasion, and other corrupt practices.

He also revealed how Tinubu, used one Adegboyega Oyetola, believed to be the current Governor of Osun State as a front for the establishment of the firm.

Alpha Beta, which has an exclusive right to collect funds on behalf of Lagos State, is believed to be partly owned by Tinubu.

The consulting firm handles the computation, tracking, and reconciliation of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in Lagos State in return for a commission.

This is not the first time Apara is coming out to accuse the former Lagos governor and the consulting firm of fraud and tax evasion.

He had in June 2018 written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accusing Alpha Beta Consulting firm of tax evasion and fraud to the tune of over N100billion.

Also, Apara in a January 2019 interview with Punch Newspaper disclosed that seven months after writing the petition to the EFCC, the commission had yet to invite him to explain his allegations.

Tunde Rahman, Media Adviser to Tinubu had then challenged and dared Apara to return to Nigeria to defend the petition.

The writ of summons details all sums due to him from 2010 till date and also disclosing what led to them falling apart, including suspicious transfer, the power play at the firm, the fund and assets due to him from the firm inception to date.

The first, second and third defendants, according to the writ, are Alpha-beta Consulting, Tinubu and Doherty, respectively.

Apara claimed he owns 30 per cent stake in the company, which he said was an idea he solely conceived, prepared and wrote a proposal which he presented to the Lagos State Government sometimes in 2000 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.

He also claimed that apart from owning 30 per cent stake in the company, other stakeholders are Michael Ogunmola, trading under the name and style Mono Consulting (40 per cent); Tunde Badejo, trading under the name and style Ebo Consult (15 per cent); and again, Tunde Badejo, trading under the name and style Intergrev Services (15 per cent).

Apara said Tinubu, following the presentation of his proposal, demanded that 70 per cent equity interest in the project be assigned to a certain Olumide Ogunmola before he would approve the project.

According to the document, he then met the said Ogunmola, who he had never met before, and it was agreed that a limited liability company is incorporated in which Apara will hold 30 per cent shares while Ogunmola and his partners will hold 70 per cent of the shares of the company.

Alpha Beta Consulting Limited was incorporated in 2002 with the shareholding ratio that shows that 30 per cent was allocated to him (Apara), 40 per cent for Ogunmola, and 30 per cent for Adegboyega Oyetola.

He (Apara) said that upon the commencement of business operations, the 2nd Defendant (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) directed that the 30 per cent shareholding of Adegboyega Oyetola be transferred to one Tunde Badejo, this he said was done.

He stated also that although he was a signatory to all the bank accounts of the 1st Defendant, payments from the bank accounts of the 1st Defendant required only two signatories which was mostly handled between the other two partners, Messrs Michael Olumide Ogunmola and Tunde Badejo.

Stating further that after the incorporation of Alpha-Beta Consulting Ltd 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 Internal Generated Revenue IGR) due and payable to the state at a 100 per cent consultancy fee (subject to a benchmark which varies from time to time).

He disclosed further that due to the technological innovation that was deployed by him, the Internal Generated Revenue of the state grew from a base of about N10 billion per annum in 2002 to over N300billion in 2019.

Origin of crisis between Apara and Tinubu, Alpha Beta

According to Apara, Tinubu in 2010 or thereabouts, directed that the incorporation structure of the Alpha-Beta Consulting Ltd be changed from a Limited Liability Company to Limited Liability Partnership under a newly promulgated law of the Lagos State Government.

Tinubu, he said, explained to him that the purpose was to further shield the former Lagos State Governor, involvement in Alpha-Beta Consulting Ltd from public scrutiny.

He said the directives by Tinubu was carried out, with the company registered as a Limited Liability Partnership to carry on business as information and communication technology consultants and provide high quality, value-added information solutions to private and public institutions, stating that after registration as a Limited Liability partnership, 1st defendant then took over the Lagos State contract previously awarded to Alpha Beta Consulting Limited.

He also said Tinubu directed that Ogunmola be designated as Managing Partner of Alpha Beta Consulting LLP, while he be designated as Deputy Managing Partner, but in 2014, Apara said Tinubu directed that Ogunmola should cease being the Managing Partner and that he should become the Managing Partner with access to review the financial records.

Disagreement according to Apara began, when in 2016, the 2nd Defendant (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) told the Claimant that he (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) had received feedback that he was reviewing past financial records of the 1st Defendant.

That he was displeased with this action of the Claimant and therefore intends to bring the 3rd Defendant (AKIN DOHERTY) into the management of the 1st Defendant as Managing Director to take over the financial management of the company, while the Claimant should revert to his former role as Deputy Managing Director and not get involved in the financial affairs of the 1 St Defendant.

Also further disclosing in the document, Apara said the 2nd Defendant (BOIA AHMED TINUBU) warned him not to even think of exposing his involvement in the financial affairs of Alpha to the EFCC as the then Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, will always protect him.

He said Tinubu threatened to use the agencies of the Lagos State Government such as the Lagos State Internal Revenue service LlRS) and the Lagos State Building Control Agency LSBCA) to harass and seize his assets if he ever betrayed him.

Apara said he disagreed with Tinubu’s request that he should revert to the role of a deputy. Instead, he claimed, “the Claimant agreed with the 2nd Defendant that he will transition to a consultant to the 3rd Defendant to manage the technology and get remunerated on a monthly basis for this task.”

According to him, “Thereafter, the 3rd Defendant was brought to the office premises of the 1st Defendant by Mr. Tunde Badejo, a partner, and introduced to the staff as the new “Managing Director” of the 1st Defendant.

“Thereafter, MR. TUNDE BADEJO told the claimant that if he (the claimant) ever came to the office of the 1st Defendant he, MR. TUNDE BADEJO will terminate the life of the Claimant. This incident was reported to the police in 2018 and is under investigation.”

“When the police commenced investigation into this complaint by the plaintiff in 2018, the 2nd Defendant (BOIA AHMED TINUBU) interfered in the Police investigation to frustrate it.”

Suspicious Transfers

Apara in the writ, further listed suspicious transfers made to various companies by Tunde Badejo, Michael Olunride Ogunmola and Akin Doherty, which he said all have concluded 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.

Notable, he claimed is Vintage Press, publisher of The Nation Newspaper alongside two others received N1 billion.

Tinubu is believed to be the owner of The Nation, but that has neither been denied nor refuted officially by the management of the media house.

He also said  N1 billion was transferred to Ocean and Oil Investment LID (OANDO) “various time” and N3.5 billion OCEANIC BANK (Now ECOBANK) “various time”.

He alluded to the fact that Clause 8 of the Partnership Agreement which relates to Profit and Losses provides that “the Partnership’s profits and losses (including profits and losses of capital) shall be divided between and borne by the partners in proportion to the shares in its capital for the time being owned by them.”

He said the 1st Defendant LLP had received from the Lagos State Government commission for its services estimated at over One hundred and fifty billion naira (150 billion) from 2010 to date with the profits of the Partnership being that sum minus legitimate costs.

Stating further that he was denied his share of the huge income made by the firm, that both Messrs Badejo and Doherty acting under the directive of the 2nd defender (Bola Tinubu) denied him his share which was a breach of Clause 8 of the Partnership Agreement.

Apara, also claimed that after a thorough and full assessment of the information he received from the said Tunde Badejo about how the account of the 1st defendant was grossly mismanaged, the poor records book-keeping of accounts of the 1st Defendant and in some cases, nonexistent accounts, he decided to whistleblow the fraudulent activities of the Defendants using the 1st Defendant in which the Claimant is a partner.

When The ICIR reached out to Dayo Apara through his twitter handle, he told The ICIR he won’t be able to comment since the matter is before a court.

The ICIR also reached out to the Tunde Rahman, the media adviser to Bola Tinubu, who responded that he was in a meeting and should be contacted later.

Subsequent calls made to him throughout Thursday evening were not answered and a text message sent to his telephone number was also not responded to.

While Rahman has not responded to the latest allegation made in the writ of summons, he had in a 2019 opinion article titled, ‘Momodu and his obscene obsession” defended Alpha Beta, stating that the consulting firm had done wonderfully well and had helped Lagos to become the fifth largest economy in Africa.

He said “Lest we forget, it was the ingenuity of Tinubu’s government that brought Alpha Beta. Because of this innovation, the Internally Generated Revenue of Lagos moved from N600m in 1999 to over N25bn monthly today.”

“Powered by this increase in IGR, Lagos economy today is ranked fifth in Africa and social services in the state have improved across the board. Alpha Beta also has been invited by many states and other countries to do for them what was done for Lagos.”

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