A former Managing Director of Alpha Beta LLP, Mr. Dapo Apara, has filed a suit before a Lagos State High Court asking it to stop a former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, from controlling the finances of Alpha Beta.
In the suit filed by Mr Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) on behalf of Apara on Wednesday, the former MD alleged that Tinubu controls Alpha Beta, a tax consulting firm that monitors and generates revenue on behalf of the Lagos State Government.
The ex-Alpha Beta boss had in 2020 filed a suit before the court but withdrew it before filing it a second time after making amendments.
Apara, who had in 2018, written a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission accusing Alpha Beta of tax fraud, asked the court to compel the firm to pay him his entitlements even as he alleged that Tinubu was the one that got him removed from his position as MD for investigating the firm’s finances.
Apart from Tinubu, others named as defendants in the suit included Alpha Beta and the current Managing Director, Mr Akin Doherty, who is also a former Commissioner for Finance in Lagos State.
The claimant is seeking eight reliefs including “A declaration that the 2nd defendant (Tinubu), not being a named partner of the 1st defendant (Alpha Beta), is not entitled to direct or influence the affairs of the 1st defendant in such a way that will deprive the claimant (Apara) of his profits and entitlements from the 1st defendant.
“An order directing the defendants herein, to render an account of all sums due to the claimant from the defendants, from 2010 to date (and) an order tracing all funds and assets due to the claimant from the defendants herein from the inception of the 1st defendant till date.
“An order of specific performance of Clause 8 and 11.0 of the partnership agreement that created the 1st defendant by extant partners; an order for payment to the claimant by the 1st and 3rd defendants, of all sums adjudged to be due to the claimant from the said 1st and 3rd defendants on the submission of the accounts.
“A perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd defendant (Tinubu), from directing, influencing or in any other manner running the affairs of the 1st defendant (Alpha Beta) in such a way that will deprive the claimant of his profit and entitlements from the 1st defendant (Alpha Beta), the 2nd defendant not being a partner of the 1st defendant.
“Ten per cent interest in ruling (5) above; and cost of this suit of N10m.”
In the statement of claim, Apara also narrated how Alpha Beta was allegedly formed in 2002 when Tinubu was still the governor of Lagos State.
The claimant said he was the one who came up with the idea of a consulting firm to help the state government to track and reconcile taxes.
“The claimant (Apara) avers that sometime in about the year 2000, he solely conceived, prepared and presented a proposal to the Lagos State Government on providing consultancy services using his registered firm, Infiniti Systems Enterprises, with respect to using computer technology to track and reconcile the Internally Generated Revenue of the state.
“The claimant avers that following the presentation of his proposal to the Lagos State Government, the second defendant (Bola Ahmed 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 on his (Tinubu’s) behalf before he, the second defendat, would approve the project,” Apara said in his statement.
The former Alpha Beta boss claimed Tinubu nominated Adegboyega Oyetola and one Olumide Ogunmola.
He said due to the technological innovation that was deployed by him, the IGR 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 Ltd 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.
Apara said as the head of the company, he began looking into its finances and he made many startling discoveries such as mysterious transfers of over N20bn in different currencies to several companies.
The former Alpha Beta boss said he realised that all the payments were sanctioned by the partners nominated by Tinubu and they were done without his knowledge, contrary to the terms of their partnership.
Apara stated that Tinubu was furious that he was looking into the company’s finances and ordered that he be demoted to deputy managing partner.
He said he refused to obey this order and this led to a feud between the both of them.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
Both Tinubu and Alpha Beta had last year described Apara’s allegations as spurious.
The company had alleged that Apara was relieved of his position because he was involved in fraud.
A statement by the firm read in part, “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 $5m; money allegedly used to pay for cloud-based services that were eventually discovered to be worth less than $300,000.
“In July 2018, further evidence of his fraudulent and unethical practices was uncovered, including the revelation that he converted approximately N6bn belonging to Alpha Beta to his personal use.” (The Punch)