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

Former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has court cases surrounding massive fraud hanging on his neck as his supporters and representatives drum support for him for the 2023 presidency.

According to fact checks by SaharaReporters, the fraud cases against Tinubu date back to 1998, raising questions about how the former governor could delay the axing of the law.

The APC leader has yet to go on record to declare his 2023 ambition, although many of his godfathers are already at the forefront of negotiations with stakeholders, first in the South-West region.

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

This verdict is directly related to (and further documents) the September 16, 2008 SaharaReporters report – How U.S. Federal Agents Successfully Linked Tinubu to Drug Trafficking Ring in Chicago.

The United States of America, through 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 organization that 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 from the operation were substantial.”

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

After a protracted legal battle in which Bola Tinubu claimed that the funds rightfully belonged to him, his wife Oluremi Tinubu, and his surrogate mother, one Alhaja Mogaji, Bola Tinubu finally opted for an agreed settlement with the U.S. government.

Under the settlement order, dated September 15, 1993, the Honorable 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 consulting firm owned by Bola Tinubu, was caught at the centre of a N100 billion fraud, tax evasion and money laundering petition 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 by government officials, a conduit for massive money laundering, tax evasion and other vices.”

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

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

The company received the appointment when Tinubu was governor of Lagos State. Speculation, which has not dissipated since is that Tinubu wholly owns the company or is a major shareholder.

In this regard, the state has also never denied the claim that the company collects about 10 per cent of Lagos’ internally generated revenue, which was estimated at about N40 billion per month in 2016.

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

The court papers, which contained charges against Tinubu and his tax consulting firm, Alpha Beta Consulting, run by a former managing director, Dapo Apara, were burned, according to Tade Ipadeola, Apara’s lawyer.

“Everything in Igbosere High Court was burnt, including the copy of the registrar of our suit. In fact, the whole building has been burnt to ashes. So we will have to re-file the suit. The office has been relocated to Ikeja.

“We may have to re-file the case in the Ikeja High Court, but we have not yet been directed to do so,” he said on October 27, 2020.

Apara had alleged 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, the publisher of The Nation newspaper.

In a summons with case number LD/7330GCMW/2020 filed at a Lagos court, Apara, who claims to own a 30 per cent stake in the firm, alleged that the former governor failed to honour certain agreements made in the past regarding 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 that during a review of the company’s account, he discovered that huge sums of money earned by the company over the years were not accounted for in the account.

He also revealed how Tinubu used Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola as a front to set up the company.

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

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

Pro-transparency groups and opposition politicians, however, had consistently claimed that Tinubu owned Alpha Beta, although his name did not appear in 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 continued to work on his supposed presidential ambitions for 2023.

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