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Tinubu’s Fraud Cases Linger In Court Amidst 2023 Presidential Ambition

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Former Governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has court cases around massive frauds hanging on his neck as his supporters and proxies drum support for him for the 2023 presidency.

Checks by SaharaReporters revealed that the fraud cases against Tinubu dated as far back as 1998, raising questions on how the former governor struggled to delay the axe of the law.

The APC leader has yet to come out officially to declare any 2023 ambition, although many of his godsons are already in the forefront of negotiations across stakeholders, first in the South-West region.

On February 18, 2009, SaharaReporters obtained original copies of a judgment in the case of United States versus Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in which Tinubu was charged (along with other defendants) in a case of massive drug trafficking and money laundering.

This judgment directly relates to (and further documents) the SaharaReporters report of September 16, 2008 – How US Federal Agents successfully Linked Tinubu to Drug Trafficking Ring in Chicago.

The United States of America, by its attorney, Michael J. Shepard, United States Attorney for Northern District of Illinois, for its verified complaint of forfeiture, stated that “Beginning as early as 1998, Adegboyega Mueez Akande, with others operated an organisation which distributed white heroin, a controlled substance under Title 21 of the United States Code.

“This distribution operation was conducted on a large scale and the proceeds of the operation substantial.”

The judgment was that the court ordered: “that the funds in the amount of $460,000 in account in the name of Bola Tinubu represents proceeds of narcotics or were involved in financial transactions in violation of 18 U.S.C ss 1956 and 1957 and therefore these funds are forfeited to the United States.”

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After protracted litigation in which Bola Tinubu claimed that the monies legitimately belonged to him, his wife, Oluremi Tinubu, and his surrogate mother, one Alhaja Mogaji, Bola Tinubu finally opted for a stipulated settlement with the US government.

According to the settlement order dated September 15, 1993; Hon. Judge John A. Nordberg ordered that the sum of $460,000 held by Bola Tinubu in the First Heritage Bank account be forfeited to the United States Government.

MA bigger scandal was uncovered in 2018 when Alpa Beta, a consultancy owned by Bola Tinubu, was caught at the centre of a N100 billion fraud, tax evasion, and money laundering petition written by Mr. Dapo Apara, its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

According to Apara’s petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Alpha Beta “has become an avenue for official corruption of government officials, a conduit pipe for massive money-laundering scheme, tax evasion, among other vices.”

In the petition, sent on his behalf by Adetunji Adegboyega ESG, his solicitors, Apara said: “Over the years the company is being protected and shielded by some powerful politicians and people in the society which made them to always boast of being untouchable, but our client, feeling the need not to keep quiet again and strengthened by his belief in the fact that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is keen on fighting corruption, which has been the bane of our country, is of the firm belief that it’s time to expose and open the can of worms called Alpha Beta Consulting.”

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Alpha Beta first became known when it was appointed as a consultant to the Lagos State Government, arguably its first client, under the tenure of Babatunde Fowler as the Chief Executive Officer/Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue from 2005 to 2014.

The company got the appointment when Tinubu was Governor of Lagos State. The speculation, which has yet to dissipate since then, is that Tinubu completely owns or is a major shareholder in the company.

In the same vein, the state has also never denied claims that the company takes about 10 percent of the internally generated revenue of Lagos, estimated in 2016 to be about N40 billion every month.

The court process was still on when on October 27, 2020, hoodlums burnt the documents during the riotous #EndSARS violence in the state.

The court papers stating charges brought against Tinubu, his tax consultancy firm, Alpha Beta Consulting, by a former MD, Dapo Apara, were burnt according to claims by Tade Ipadeola, Apara’s lawyer.

“Everything in Igbosere High Court got burnt including the registrar’s copy of our application. In fact, the whole building was burnt to ashes. So, we will have to file again. The registry has been moved to Ikeja.

“We may have to file the case afresh at the Ikeja High Court but we have not yet been instructed to do so,” he said on October 27, 2020.

Apara had claimed in the documents that Tinubu, suspiciously diverted N22,360,000,000 and $4,396,063 from the firm’s account to that of Vintage Press Ltd, publisher of The Nation Newspaper.

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In writ of summons marked LD/7330GCMW/2020 deposed at a Lagos High Court, Apara, who claims to own a 30 per cent stake in the company, alleged that the former governor reneged on certain agreements reached in the past about the management and control of the consulting firm.

Other fronts used by Tinubu, according to the former Alpha Beta boss, are Olumide Ogunmola and Tunde Badejo.

In his statement of claim, Apara said during a review of the company’s account, he discovered that huge sums of money earned by the company over the years were not reflected in its account.

He also revealed how Tinubu used the Osun State governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, as a front for the establishment of the firm.

Alpha Beta Consulting was awarded a contract by the Lagos State Government when Tinubu was governor of the state after a recommendation by a committee comprising the then Attorney-General of Lagos State, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (now the Vice President of Nigeria); Mr Wale Edun, then Commissioner for Finance; and a former Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Yemi Cardoso.

The firm was subsequently given exclusive rights to collect taxes on behalf of the Lagos State Government and was believed to receive about 10 percent commission from the revenue it collected for the state.

However, pro-transparency groups and opposition politicians had constantly alleged that Tinubu owned Alpha Beta even though his name was not on any of the company’s documents.

Although both Tinubu and Alpha Beta denied the allegations, they had to provide counter-evidence as the former governor’s cronies continue to work on his perceived 2023 presidential ambition.

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Judiciary

Alleged N10bn scam: Secondus demands N1bn, retraction from Afegbua

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Following this week’s allegation of financial fraud to the tune of N10 billion made against Prince Uche Secondus, national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP by Kassim Afegbua, the former, Thursday, demanded a retraction of the story and payment of N1 billion in damages from Afegbua.

Secondus through his counsel, Emeka Etiaba, threatened to take legal action against Mr. Afegbua within 48 hours if he fails to meet his demands.

Afegbua had accused Secondus of mismanaging the sum of N10 billion which he claimed accrued to the party from the sales of nomination forms for the 2019 election; a claim punctured by party spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, who noted that the party realized the sum of N4.

6 billion and not N10B billion.

The PDP boss noted that Afegbua, a former Information Commissioner in Edo state had in two national dailies as well as in a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, said that “much of the financial transaction of the PDP under Prince Uche Secondus have been shrouded in mystery.”

Afegbua also accused the Secondus leadership of using the bank account of Morufu Nigeria Limited in the sale of nomination forms in 2019, instead of the party’s account.

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However, Secondus in a letter from Emeka Etiaba Chambers and addressed to Afegbua through his counsel, Kayode Ajulo and Co obtained by Vanguard demanded the sum of N1billion from Afegbua within 48 hours failure to which he will be sued for libel.

Prince Kassim Afegbua
The letter reads in part “The above publication of yours portrays our client in a bad light and gives notice to the whole world that our client is a fraudster who is incapable of holding the exalted office of the national chairman of the PDP.

“The two publications made by you were given prominence on the front pages of the Newspapers you employed for your defamatory actions and the publications were widely circulated and read’.

The letter captured some of the prominent federal political positions Secondus held in the past including chairman, National Insurance Commission; Chairman, National Identity Management Commission; Member, Nigerian Railway Board, stating that he “kept an unblemished reputation.

The letter continued: “Your publications which you know to be false have therefore brought him to odium and has challenged his right standing in the society as a trustworthy character.

“The publications were read worldwide and most especially in all nooks and crannies of Nigeria and this fact has been confirmed by the phone calls that have trailed your publications.

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Take notice that if you fail to retract your said publications, apologize to our client in the said newspapers with the same prominence with which you published the offensive statements and pay the sum N1,000,000,000.00 (One Billion Naira) to him as damages (all within 48 hours from the date hereof), we shall proceed to institute an action to seek redress from a court of competent jurisdiction”.

Meanwhile, when our correspondent contacted Afegbua for his reaction, he had this to say: “When I receive the letter, I will respond to it. I will consult my lawyers. I haven’t received any letter. But I cannot be intimidated or distracted from pursuing accountability in PDP. That will be my initial reaction.”

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Judiciary

We Cannot Suspend Strike Now, JUSUN Tells CJN

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The national officials of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) had told the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad that it would be very difficult for it to call off its ongoing strike now.

JUSUN had visited the CJN in his office on Wednesday ostensibly to give him a feedback on his recent demand on the union to call off the ongoing strike.

The CJN had, at an earlier meeting with JUSUN leaders on April 6, asked the union to call off the strike in view of its adverse effect on the justice system in the country. According to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the CJN, Ahurakah Isah, the JUSUN officials, led by its Deputy National President, Emmanuel Abioye and Jimoh Musa Alonge (Treasurer), explained why the union found it difficult to heed the CJN’s demand to call off the strike.

Abiyoye told the CJN that the state governors must begin to demonstrate some level of seriousness by putting in place some measures precedent to the implementation of financial autonomy for the judiciary in their respective states.

‘’Though there’s financial autonomy for the judiciary already in some states while some are assuring that they would comply, others have to take steps in readiness for compliance,’’ Abioye said. According to Abioye, the union expects each state to start implementing its selfaccounting law to deal with the Internally Generated Revenue in line with Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended; and that states without such law should put it in place.

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Abioye said it is his union’s position that there must be some level of seriousness from all quarters and, as such, the amount standing to the credit of the judiciary from the monthly federal allocation should be deducted directly from the source by the Accountant General of the Federation and remit same to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for onward transmission to heads of courts.

He said for the Federation Consolidated Account also known as Federal Allocation, the budget of each state judiciary submitted to the implementation committee (received) on October 2, 2020 should be implemented by deducting the amount due to the state judiciary directly from source by Accountant General of the Federation AGF) in line with Sections 81(3) and 162(9) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) for the states. “In other words, the AGF should deduct from the monthly Federal Allocation and remit it to NJC for onward transmission of the fund to the Heads of Courts at the State Judiciary.

“Until this is done, there is no going back, the strike would go on.’’ However, the CJN said it has become difficult to fault the idea of the strike since the rights of the union and its members which are clearly defined in the Constitution are being denied, especially at state level. ‘’I can’t fault your reasons for embarking on this protest because the union wants its rights restored in line with the provisions of the Constitution. I commend you for following due process so far to protest against the injustice,’’ the CJN said.

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Judiciary

JUSUN insists allocations must be deducted at source, as govs beg members to call off strike

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The Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) has insisted that each state must implement its self-accounting law in dealing with Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

In a statement issued by its General Secretary I. M. Adetola, in Kaduna, on Thursday, the Union maintained that states must implement the Fund Management Law in dealing with the state consolidated funds, in accordance with Section 121(3) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended.

This is as governors through the platform of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) on Thursday implored the union to call off its strike, and pledged to implement the financial autonomy for the judiciary.

JUSUN maintained that the monthly federal allocation to the judiciary should be deducted directly from the source by Accountant General of the Federation and remitted to National Judicial Council (NJC) for onward transmission to heads of courts,

“For the Federal Allocation, the Budget of each State Judiciary submitted to the implementation committee (received on Oct.

2, 2020) should be implemented by deducting the amount due to the state judiciary directly from the source by Accountant General of the Federation.

“This is in accordance with Section 81(3), Section 162(9) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria (as amended) for the states. The Accountant General of the Federation should be directed accordingly,” he said.

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The union also called for the payment of the arrears from the month of October 2020.

Nigeria reported that JUSUN, on April 6, in efforts to ensure it strike action was effective, shut down all courts across the country by mounting guard at the entrance of the courts to ensure that no one entered the court premises.

The action has crippled court proceedings as well as commercial activities around the court premises.

It would be recalled that a Federal High Court, which sat in Abuja had in January 2014, held that the financial autonomy for the judiciary was a constitutional provision that must be complied with by the executive branch of government.

Also, President Muhammadu Buhari, on May 23 2020, signed into law an Executive Order to grant financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary across the 36 states of the federation.

The order mandated the Accountant-General of the Federation to deduct from source amount due to state legislatures and judiciaries from the monthly allocation to each state for states that refuse to grant such autonomy.

Also, the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, made the Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 mandatory, stating that all states of the federation should include the allocations of both the legislature and the judiciary in the first-line charge of their budgets.

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Meanwhile, the state governors through the platform of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) on Thursday, pledged to implement the financial autonomy for the judiciary by May ending at the latest and called on the striking members of the JUSUN to call off their two weeks old strike.

The chairman of the NGF and the Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, gave the assurance while speaking with journalists after meeting with stakeholders from the state judiciary and legislature at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

He said the modalities for the implementation were worked out at the meeting held at the Presidential Villa.

According to him, the meeting, chaired by the Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Ibrahim Gambari was attended by the Solicitor-General of the Federation, the representatives of the judiciary, the representatives of the Conference of Speakers, and House of Representatives.

 

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